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The Theology of the Early Christian Church, exhibited in Quotations
from the Writers of the first three centuries, with Reflections. By JAMES BENNETT, D.D. London: Jackson & Walford. 1841. Pp. 463.
It is evident that the study of the early christian writers is spreading, even amongst dissenters, and that some are beginning to feel the force of the evidence to be found in them, in support of the discipline and doctrine of the Church. This is the result in part of a feeling that the learning of the clergy gives them a real advantage ; in part of the darling principle of modern dissent, that inquiry should be free and unrestricted, and that every one should form his creed for himself. For amidst incalculable evil, this is one result, that some will take the liberty of seeing what the Church has to say for herself, and what side has the best support from christian antiquity. For after all the special pleading that can be brought to bear upon the subject, an ingenuous mind cannot fail to see that what is nearest to the foundation of the religion has the best chance of being true. The consequence has been already, not merely that such dubious converts as Mr. Isaac Taylor have chosen to range themselves under the banners of the Ciurch, but that other more valuable converts liave been made ; and amongst the most recent, one of their best scholars, a principal tutor in one of their colleges, has been so wrought upon by the force of overwhelming evidence, that upon mature conviction he has quitted an honourable office and respectable emolument, and sat down to live or starve, as he can, in one of the lowest and most laborious stations in the Church,-poor in this world, but rich in the possession of an upright mind and approving conscience, and certainty to rest his soul upon, rather than everchanging opinion. And thus we see that even the leading principle of dissent can work its own cure.
But this can be the case only where the mind is really candid and NO. XIII.-N. S.