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REVIEWS AND NOTICES.
1. Sequel of the Argument against immediately repealing the laws
wi ch the Nuptial Bond as indissoluble. By the Rev. John KEBLE, M.A., Vicar of Hursley. Oxford and London : J. H. and
J. Parker. 2. A Village Sermon on the Divorce Bill. By the Rev. R. M. Benson,
M.A., Perpetual Curate of Cowley, Oxon. London: Masters. 3. Christian Marriage Indissoluble. A Plain Sermon preached at
Archbishop Tenison's Chapel. By J. GALLOWAY Cowan, Minister
of the Chapel. London : Skeffington. NEVER was the Church so completely caught sleeping as in the matter of the Divorce Bill. Partly it may be, perhaps, that the clergy as a body had never been called to examine into the question very closely ; but chiefly, we apprehend, they trusted to the House of Peers, imagining it impossible that the House which had so vigorously resisted a Jew Bill and a Church Rate Bill could ever be inclined to pass a measure which affected the Church injuriously in her very inmost life, as the Guardian of the pation's morality and her LORD's honour.
Now at length, however, she seems to be awakening. We trust it may not be too late. Mr. Keble's Sequel supplies what all felt anxious to be put in possession of : viz. the view taken by the Church in her earliest and best days. With the generality, however, the Scriptural argument is what will be conclusive, and as containing this in its widest scope, and presenting it in forcible language, we strongly recommend Mr. Benson's Sermon for circulation. Mr. Cowan's Sermon is valuable as a protest : but it contains some bitter and hasty statements which detract from its value.
Earthly Idols. London: Masters.
As a mere work of art this novel is in many respects defective, but as an exemplification of one of the many forms of this world's idolatry, it is in a great measure successful. The plot is simple enough—a young girl with some titled relations on the mother's side, and many plebeian connections on that of the father, makes a round of visits amongst them, which results in a love affair between her and a young man of no fortune, but with distant expectations of an earldom. A series of deaths puts him in unexpected possession of the title and its substantial accessories. He at once marries a wealthy heiress and deserts the poor heroine, whose first idol is thus rudely broken-her father is by this time dead, and she is living with an old clergyman, who had been a friend of his. A second idol presents itself soon after in the shape of a little orphan niece, whom she educates, adopts and loves with the most devoted affection, till a fortune is left to the child, so that she becomes independent of her aunt, and forth with leaves her, after having manifested an ingratitude of the worst description. The old clergyman has died in the meantime, and the heroine having thus seen all her idols crumble
into dust, turns at last to the one only Love which never faileth, and terminates her days in an heroic act of self-sacrifice which results in her death.
This latter part contains much that is very beautiful, and the book viewed in its higher aspect as inculcating a great moral lesson, cannot fail to have a good effect, and for this reason we are the more rigid in pointing out the faults of which artistically the book is full. It has the common error of lady writers in the superhuman excellence of the good characters, and the unnatural vices of the bad-good and evil are far more equally balanced than is generally supposed, and it is seldom indeed that we see such glaring contrasts as are displayed in this book ; a far greater fault however, is in the extraordinary manners and customs which she attributes to the titled individuals with whom the work is filled ad nauseam. Our English aristocracy have sins enough indeed to answer for in the shape of double-distilled worldliness, subtle immorality, and intense selfishness, but they certainly are not guilty of the coarse vulgarity, clumsy intriguing, and violence of language even in society, which this writer attributes to her lords and ladies.
We should strongly recommend her, if she writes again (as we hope she will) to eschew the Peerage altogether, and to occupy the talent which she really possesses, as well as the right-mindedness she so evidently shows in religious matters in such delineation of character as might show the effect in every-day life of the principles she desires to advocate.
Grace Allen ; the history of a Mill Girl. London : W. Painter. THERE is so much that is truly admirable in the Catholic mindedness and deep devotional feeling which pervades this book, that we greatly regret being compelled to pronounce it in other respects a very dangerous production. It gives us the history of a mill-girl, who with but scanty means of instruction really strives to do her duty in every way that is open to her. She works hard to support her mother, consents to be confirmed, and goes to confession previously because she desires to make the best preparation she can for the holy rite. She receives the Blessed Sacrament, and remains ever after a steady communicant, and yet with all this she is through the whole time unconverted, i.e., not in a state of grace, until suddenly she is inspired with the desire to pray, and from that particular moment she notes a total change which takes place in her, and shows her that she has never been reconciled to God up to that time. Now it is undoubtedly true that it may please God at any time to call persons more nearly to Himself, granting them some special illumination which leads them to give up even the innocent pleasures of the world for His sake, but in the ordinary experience of Christians, it is precisely in their every day duties that they are called upon
their faithfulness to their Redeemer, and we do not hesitate to say, that we consider this little work calculated to drive timid souls to despair, and the hardened to greater carelessness, by affirming that all these things avail nothing unless we have the inward consciousness of a special call.
Arthur, the Motherless Boy (Wertheim and Macintosh) is thoroughly well meant and pleasingly written. It may, we should think, be a useful book to invalid children, but it contains some glaring errors-such as the assurance that the child's mother is now reigning in heaven, and others of a like nature which we should be glad to see remedied.
“An Englishman” has done well at this time to make public the late Bishop Mant's Letter on the Scotch Communion Office and the English Chapels in Scotland. (J. H. Parker.) The Letter was written in 1824, but not published, as it affected the conduct of a dignitary in the Bishop's Diocese.
The Çatechetical Notes on the Miracles of our LORD in Mr. Parker's Series disappoint us. They are simply exegetical and make no refer. ence to the spiritual or allegorical meaning of what our LORD did and said.
Notes on Confirmation, by a Priest (J. H. Parker,) are to be commended as giving the right view of Confirmation (which is more than Mr. Arden's Lectures, by the same publisher, do): but we miss the proper correlative of the Catholic Doctrine, viz., the Catholic form of preparation by self-examination and repentance. If the Holy Ghost is specially conveyed by this holy Rite, then must the Parish Priest take heed that he present none for it whose hearts and consciences he has not at least tried to render meet for its reception.
The Colonial Church is beginning to make large contributions to the literature of the mother country. In addition to the South African Magazine published at Capetown, we have now the Natal Journal (Longman and Co.), giving a very full and satisfactory summary of ecclesiastical news in that diocese; while New Zealand has sent us a Quarterly Review, of still higher pretensions. This is published at Wellington, and has no English publisher's name upon its face.
Both show considerable ability, combined with a practical knowledge of what is likely to interest Colonists, -and these are good tokens of
Mr. T. D. Acland's Pamphle on Middle Class Education is well worth reading. It is the seed out of which the recent Oxford University Statute, which has our entire approval, has grown. We do not know any Manual of Household Prayer which
the whole may be better recommended for use, than that by the Rev. W. J. DEANE. It is published by Rivingtons, and should have been noticed two or three months ago.
Pictures of the Heavens (Mozleys) if we mistake not, have already appeared in the Monthly Packet. They are nicely drawn, and include a very large number of engravings, which will be of great assistance to the young reader.
CHURCH INFLUENCE OF THE LAITY.
The Councils of the Church, from the Council of Jerusalem, A.D. 51,
to the Council of Constantinople, A.D. 381, chiefly as to their constitution, but also as to their objects and history. By the Rev. E. B. PUSEY, D.D., Regius Professor of Hebrew, and Canon of Christ Church. Oxford : J. H. Parker. London: J. F. Rivington.
NOTWITHSTANDING 80 much has been said and written about the co-operation of the laity with the clergy of the Church of England, it has never been our good fortune to come across any publication which made a successful attempt to set the whole merits of the question before its readers in anything like a thoroughly connected and straightforward way. Many excellent persons have devoted their energies to this one object with a zeal highly to be commended when enlisted in a good cause ; but their zeal has seemed to want method, and the publications arising out of it leave the mind in that confused state which is anything but satisfactory to those who really want to form a just estimate of the case in which these excellent persons have come forward in the position of advocates. We have before us at this moment a publication which has doubtless reached the hands of many of our readers though professing to be printed for 'private circulation, and in which a layman of high respectability has collected together many of the doings and sayings of those who think with him on the subject; but the plethora of opinions is such that the perusal of them has fairly suffocated any critical judgment of which we may be possessed; and our over-excited brain swims with the vain endeavour made to disentangle the web of thought, and obtain a fabric of ideas not hopelessly interwoven together. Is this confused manner in which the question of lay co-operation is usually set before us necessity which cannot be dispensed with ? May we not hope that there will yet be found among the many talented clergymen and laymen who have opinions in favour of lay co-operation some one who will tell us plainly what it is in which laymen' wish to co-operate; and in a business-like speech or treatise show us how that wish may be gratified ? At present, it seems to us, there is the most indefinite notion possible among churchmen even of what lay co-operation means. Some say laymen ought to have a 'voice in Convocation; in fact, this seemed to be the whole question only a few short months ago; but we believe this is now considered quite impracticable, if not improper, and so all that we have laboured to read on that view of the case has been laboured over in vain. Vol. XIX.-SEPTEMBER, 1857.
Others are for the presence of lay representatives in councils which as yet have little better than a hypothetical existence; but which it is supposed would be charmed into the most effective activity if the clergy will only consent beforehand that they shall not be exclusively clerical. Then, again, some think that it is in the executive, and not in the legislative work of the Church that the help of the laity is most required ; while others, still more practical, say that their lay-brethren would very effectually co-operate with the Church, if they would only put into her hands a more reasonable proportion of the gold and silver in which they so largely prosper and abound.
Considering the interest which this question has aroused, all this confusion seems very strange. Clerical correspondents write to editors of periodicals and newspapers declaring their conviction that if the Church of England is to be saved it must be saved by the influence of her laity. Lay churchmen of great energy and
perseverance declare before influential audiences, and that “without fear of contradiction, that lay co-operation is not only desirable, but necessary, if our Church is to carry out her mission.” Committees of Convocation take the matter into their consideration, and very nearly reach the extremely extreme point, for any portion of that venerable body, of doing something in the matter. England, Scotland, Australasia, Canada, all cry out for the same objects ; and America goads them on with many a tale of her own great advantages in baving given the laity their “rights,” and so gained their " co-operation." And yet, strange to say, no one tells us in a collected and intelligible manner, of what this vital question really consists; what the real rights of the laity are; when they were taken away from them; or how they are to be restored.
It cannot for moment be denied that the question raised is a most important one. A large proportion of the present generation has been aroused to a sense of religious responsibility; they have come to look upon themselves as being not mere members of a civil society, but also of the Body mystical of CHRIST ; and the consciousness of duties in the one as well as the other has spread far and wide, not only among the clergy, but among all. In this awakening, men have naturally asked, 'What shall I do ? They have felt that their position in the Christian body is one of active labour as well as of passive submission to law; and they have felt that to be idle is good neither for themselves nor the body of which they form an integral portion. It is not surprising that persons aroused to the understanding of Church principles,-and especially of that principle of unity by which the whole polity of true Chris tianity is underlaid, --it is not surprising, we repeat, that such persons should ask, where is their appointed sphere of action in the
It would have been the rather astonishing if they had allowed themselves to suppose that they had nothing to do but