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in their temporal circumstances; here they will be pointed to a sovereign remedy. Heaven is a treasure that never fails. Let them lay up their interest there, and it will be for ever secure. Earthly joys are, at best, imperfect, and mixed with sorrow, but the bliss of heaven is without alloy. Heaven is a place of perfect holiness. O, to be absorbed in God! what a glorious consummation! There is no sorrow, no night, no war, no death in heaven! O glorious place! the home of the wanderer-of the banished! How worthy of our constant and devout meditation !
This blessed subject is discussed in the volume we now commend to the attention of our readers in a clear and interesting manner. The writer has evidently thought much upon the subject, and become baptized with its spirit. For those who may wish to form a correct estimate of the comparative value of earth and heaven, or may desire to have their affections elevated to that blessed world, or may wish for comfort under bereavements, this little volume will constitute a most agreeable and profitable companion.
3. A Treatise on the Scriptural Doctrine of Justification. By the Rev.
EDWARD HARE. 18mo., pp. 253. New-York: published by G. Lane & P. P. Sandford. 1841.
The doctrine of justification by faith alone is a fundamental doctrine of the gospel. And, hence, without a clear understanding of its nature there can be no adequate notions of the plan of salvation instituted by Christ. Important and essential to salvation as this doctrine is, and clearly as it is set forth in the New Testament, especially by St. Paul, partial and erroneous views of it have been entertained and propagated by professed Christians in all ages of the church. The school of St. Augustine and Calvin hold to justification by the imputed righteousness of Christ, or by making over to the sinner Christ's active obedience: the Oxford Tractarians, after the Romanists, maintain that the sinner is justified because he is first made inherently righteous or holy: and the Socinian thinks men entitled to be considered righteous because, in fact, they were never otherwise! But the true Scripture doctrine is at an equal distance from all these erroneous dogmas. This doctrine is, that the sinner is justified through the atoning merits of Christ, and by faith alone, without the works of the law. Amidst the grief inflicted by the tide of error upon this great doctrine, which has recently been flooding Great Britain and this country, it is refreshing to meet with such a book as the one before us. Here every thing is plain, and exactly suited to our wants. Mr. Hare stands at an infinite distance from all mysticism and legalism. The great excellence of his work is, that it rests upon Scripture. The author does not first give us a theory, and then labor to make the Bible prove it; but he gives us numerous passages, at length, which treat, of set purpose, upon this specific doctrine, and then gives us the results of a common sense exposition and comparison of these passages. This is indeed the only way to arrive at truth in the discussion of any Christian doctrine. And if theologians had more generally adhered to this course, it had been better for the church and the world. The inquiry should always be, “What saith the Scriptures?" and not what ought they to say.
The style of the writer is pure, perspicuous, and forcible. His definitions are short and yet sufficiently full. His reasoning is always to the point, and never either tame or vague and inconclusive. His deductions come right home to our common sense and our enlightened faith, and are to the mind of an unbiased, unsophisticated Christian, entirely satisfactory.
We cannot doubt but this little manual comes from our press just at this time most appropriately, and we believe it will do much good should it meet with an extensive circulation. We commend the work especially to young Christians, and young ministers.
4. An Inquiry into the Constitution, Discipline, Unity, and Worship of
the Primitive Church, that flourished within the first three hundred Years after Christ. Faithfully collected out of the extant Writings of those Ages. By Sir Peter King, Lord High Chancellor of England. With a Preface by the Editor. 12mo., pp. 300. NewYork: published by G. Lane & P. P. Sandford. 1841.
The work now presented to the public in a new dress has been considered by many of the most learned divines not only as a rare exhibition of patient and impartial investigation, but, in its leading facts, a true representation of the government and usages of the primitive church. But it is rendered especially interesting to the Methodists as the instrument of breaking down the high church prejudices of Mr. John Wesley, and so of preparing the way for the distinct organization of the Methodist Episcopal Church in the United States.
In his Journal for January 20, 1746, Mr. Wesley says, “I set out for Bristol. On the road I read over Lord King's account of the primitive church. In spite of the vehement prejudice of my education, I was ready to believe that his was a fair and impartial draught; but if so, it would follow that bishops and presbyters are essentially) of one order; and that, originally, every Christian congregation was a church independent on all others."
Thirty-eight years after the above was written, in his letter " to Dr. Coke, Mr. Asbury, and the brethren in North America,” dated Bristol, September 10, 1784, Mr. Wesley says, “Lord King's account of the primitive church convinced me, many years ago, that bishops and presbyters are the same order, and consequently have the same right to ordain. For many years I have been importuned from time to time to exercise this right, by ordaining part of our traveling preachers. But I have still refused, not only for peace' sake, but because I was determined, as little as possible, to violate the established order of the national Church to which I belonged."
Our venerated founder was thoroughly read in the history and monuments of the primitive church, and perfectly intimate with the writings of the fathers, upon which the conclusions of Lord King are founded. And that such a mind—one so well stored with classical learning and the records of antiquity—should be so affected by a perusal of this book, is certainly not a little in favor both of its facts and reasoning.
It must however be borne in mind, that Mr. Wesley called no man father upon earth; and, in several instances, in the organization of the connection, he departed from what Lord King supposes the primitive practice. In one point, (and that is a very important one,) Mr. Wesley's system is more strictly apostolic than the draught of the “Primitive Church” by our author. We refer to the connectional principle, acting through a general itinerant superintendency. Upon this point our author is not so satisfactory, and incautious readers need to be put on their guard.
When he asserts that there was “but one bishop in a church,” his meaning must be restricted to those primitive churches or congregations in populous places which assembled in one place." These churches expanded until it became necessary to divide and subdivide them, and so the appropriate officers were multiplied to meet the emergency. There were certainly several Eniokotol, bishops, in the church of Ephesus in the apostles days. (See Acts xx, 17, 28.) Bishops in primitive times were properly pastors; and as their age or eminent holiness entitled them to more than ordinary respect, for the edification of the body, they were by general consent invested with a jurisdiction over the ordinary pastors and their flocks; but this did not constitute them a different order from that of presbyter.
In the present edition the original is strictly followed, except in the orthography of some words, and a sketch of the author's life is given from a late London edition. All the original references are retained, and thus the excellences of several previous editions are preserved with
out their defects. This, we believe is the first American edition of this work, and as it throws much light upon subjects which at present are considerably agitated in this country, we presume the publisher, and the book committee who recommended its republication, will have the thanks of an enlightened public for putting it into their hands in its present form.
5. A History of the Methodist Episcopal Church. By N. Bangs, D.D.
Vol. IV. From 1828 to 1840. 12mo., pp. 400. New-York: published by G. Lane & P. P. Sandford. 1841.
This volume brings down Dr. Bangs' history to the present time. The preceding volumes have been before the public so long that their character and merits are generally understood; and it may be pre-, sumed that it will be a sufficient recommendation to the one now noticed to say, that there is no falling off, either in the interest of its facts or its execution. The world, but more particularly the Methodist Episcopal Church, have great cause to be grateful to the author for rescuing from oblivion the material facts connected with our history as a church. It would be marvelous indeed if there should be found in these volumes nothing to correct, as the facts they detail are so numerous, and are gathered from such a mass of undigested materials. But there can be no doubt but these volumes will be highly estimated ' and read with interest long after their author shall have gone to his reward.
Lee's History of the Methodists, long since out of print, is now sought as high authority upon many points, merely because the author wrote of his own times, and recorded many important events which came under his own observation. It will not be long before the same reason will give additional interest to the history before us.
Few are acquainted with the difficulty of executing a work of this character. Considering the number of books and records which he has been obliged to read, and thoroughly examine, it is indeed marvelous that the author, with all his characteristic industry, has succeeded in bringing his work to such a state of perfection. Every Methodist, and especially every Methodist preacher, should give this work a place in his library
6. The Life of the Rev. John Emory, D.D., one of the Bishops of the
Methodist Episcopal Church. By his eldest Son. 8vo., pp. 380. New-York : published by George Lane. 1841.
In the department of biography we, in America, have, so far, fallen much behind our British brethren. With the Wesleyans, orer the
water, the lives of their holy men are gathered up and transmitted to posterity for their instruction. But we often suffer ours to be lost to the world for want of a faithful record of their great virtues and eminent usefulness. Whatever may be the cause of this apparent neglect, whether the difficulty of the task of collecting materials, or the want of suitable encouragement, we are certain it is not for the want of respect for the memory of our departed fathers and brethren.
We are happy, however, to see indications of an improvement in this respect. The Life of Bishop Emory is a cheering specimen of what can be done in this department by persevering industry. If we shall have, as we confidently hope, following this most interesting biography, a life of Bishop Asbury, one of Bishop M'Kendree, and one of Dr. Fisk, executed in a manner worthy of these eminent servants of God, we may then begin to look up, and congratulate ourselves that we have done much toward wiping away a reproach which has, up to this time, rested upon this branch of our literature.
Dr. Johnson says, every life has enough in it of interest to be worth preserving from oblivion. If this be true, what a mine of precious materials have we in the lives of our holy and self-sacrificing fathers and brethren! Now, shall these materials be wrought out and made permanently tangible and useful, or shall they be consigned to oblivion?
It is not necessary for us to say any thing to excite high expectations in relation to the work here noticed. The subject was one of our first and best; and the author is favorably known to the public. The high expectations already raised in the public mind, we have no doubt will be fully realized. The selection and arrangement of the facts, the style of the composition, and the elaborate discussion of many deeply interesting and difficult topics connected with the history and government of the Methodist Episcopal Church, all show a grade of literary taste, a power of discrimination, and a comprehensiveness of view every way worthy of the son of Bishop Emory.
It will be seen and felt by all that the author had a very delicate task to execute. He had to present the character of his revered and much-loved father. How he could divest himself of undue partialities for the subject of his narrative, is a question of difficult solution. We knew the bishop well, and, perhaps, we might say, intimately; and the graphic and striking picture here presented of his shining qualities it is presumed will not, by those who were best acquainted with him, be considered as too highly coloured. But we must, after this brief notice, leave the reader to judge for himself. We have no doubt but the Life of Bishop Emory will take a high rank among works of the class.