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Tractarian Anglicanism is after all the only form in which it is possible to assert with any sort of consistency, the ordinary pretensions of the Episcopal Church, over against the position of other Protestant denominations. These pretensions are worse than idle, clearly, unless they can be made to rest on some such conception of a real Church, with really supernatural prerogatives and powers, as is maintained by Puseyism ; and on this conception besides, as identified with an exclusively true line of succession, supposed to lie in the particular organization of the Episcopal Church. If it be found then, that the High Church theory cannot be carried out successfully in favor of Episcopacy, in the way that Puseyism has been trying to do it, Episcopalianism as a whole must be content to part also with the notion of any peculiar prerogative belonging to it in this way, in virtue simply of its outward constitution and order. To stick for anything of that sort, while refusing to accept the only theory on which it can be done with consistency, is a species of ecclesiastical pedantry only which deserves in truth but small respect. The controversy between Protestantism and Catholicism must hold now in another form. The question is not whether Anglicanism (or Episcopacy in any shape) in one direction, or Independency and rationalistic Zuinglianism in another, can sustain the full weight of this argument over against the pretensions of Romanism; for it is evident enough that they cannot do it; but whether it be possible to place the cause of Protestantism, under a truly churchly and historical form, on some ground intermediate between these contrary schemes, where it may be able to maintain itself without the inconveniences of either, so as not to fall over to the arms of Romanism on the one side, nor yet to become a prey to open deadly Rationalism, on the other. With this view of the Catholic controversy, these essays of Cardinal Wiseman, of course, do not pretend to meddle. They confine themselves to that one phase of it which belongs to Oxford and the Tractarian school. Here, as we have said, his victory is complete. But this only serves to throw the controversy over upon that broader and more free ground of which we have just spoken ; while it goes to show, at the same time, what a world of interest is at stake on the form it must be made to assume here, as being nothing less in truth than the issue by which is to be settled in the end the universal question of the Protestant Reformation.
JUSTO UCONDONO, PRINCE OF JAPAN. By Philalethes. Bal
timore: Murphy & Co. 1854. Tuis volume of 344 pages, handsomely printed and cleverly written, is intended to represent, under the form of a tale, the general argument for the truth of Christianity in the first place, over against the claims of Paganism, Mohammedanism, and modern Judaism, and then for what the author holds to be the only true form of Christianity, the Catholic Church, over against all systems and forms of it besides. This is not, to our mind, the best form for either didactic or controversial divinity. Such mock disputations, carried on by men of straw, carry with them less persuasion and force, and have also less interest, generally, we think, than the same argument would have under a more direct form. For those, however, who have a taste for theology in such shape, the volume here noticed may be recommended as one well worthy of their attention. As regards the latter part of it, the argument, namely, for the Catholic Church, different readers, of course, will have different views, according to the state of their minds previously, in relation to the whole subject. The argument itself, does not pretend to be new. Its object is rather to make itself popular only and plain. TøE POWER OF THE POPE DURING THE MIDDLE AGES; OR AN
HISTORICAL INQUIRY INTO THE ORIGIN OF THE TEMPORAL POWER OF THE HOLY SEE. By M. Gosselin, Director in the Seminary of St. Sulpice, Paris. Translated by the Rev. Matthew Kelly, Maynooth. Two volumes, 8 vo.
Baltimore: Murphy & Co. London: Dolman. 1853. Tuis highly respectable work forms the first and second volumes of the Library of Translations from Seclect Foreign Literature, a series of works now in course of publication by Mr. Charles Dolman of London, and the Messrs. Murphy & Co. of Baltimore. The object is to bring a number of valuable works, which have appeared lately on the Continent of Europe, in the service more particularly of Catholic Literature, within the reach of English readers in Great Britain and also in this country. The publishers propose to furnish annually, four volumes, octavo, of such choice literature, averaging from four to five hundred pages each, at the price of six dollars per annum to each subscriber. The undertaking certainly deserves encouragement. That there is room for a most valuable selection in this form, from the existing continental authorships of the old world, no one who knows anything about it needs to be informed; and it is just as plain that there is much need for it also in the wants of our English theological learning at the present time. The great matter will be to make sure of good and sufficient translations. So far as that point is concerned, the work now before us speaks well. We have had no opportunity of comparing it directly with the original; but it reads smoothly, makes easy and clear sense, and in its general style moves freely and without constraint--the proper evidences in any case of a translation which is master at once both of its subject and its text.
We shall not pretend to go here into the merits of this work of Gosselin. That would demand a long article. Of its claims to attention, however, there can be no question. The name of its author, and the favor with which it has been received already in the continent, since its first appearance in 1839, are a sufficient guaranty of its worth. Its great learning and general ability show themselves on the whole face of the work itself. The subject, too, with which it is employed is one of the deepest interest, not for Catholics only, but for Protestants also; for all, in a word, who care to understand either the history of religion or the history of politics and civilization, in the wide and important period to which it refers. We may not be bound to accept the author's views at every point ; but we are bound to make ourselves' acquainted, as far as we can, with facts, (if we presume to have opinions,) and not to surrender ourselves blindfold here to the guidance of mere prejudice and ignorance. There is no subject more worthy of the study of the true scholar than the relation of the Papacy to the progress of society during the Middle Ages. The man who does not see and feel it to be of such interest, is not likely to be of much weight for the cause of either theological or ecclesiastical learning in any other view. It is humiliating, indeed, to find, to what an extent the grossest and most childish ignorance is allowed, even in seemingly respectable quarters, to take the place here of true knowledge ; and how prejudice and lazy tradition, by a few sweeping and easily convenient formulas, are held sufficient on all sides to settle the most grave and solemn question in opposition to truth and fact, at the expense of what are self-complacently stigmatized as the dark ages. For the honor of learning it ought not to be so, as well as for the honor of religion. Over against all such unrespectable and inexcusable grannyism, claiming the right to rule history as well as theology by its pitiful formulas, we beg leave to recommend an honest and manly examination of the actual relations of the Church to the world in these medieval times, as they
are ably and learnedly set forth in this work of Gosselin. Let no one be deterred from doing so, merely because the title has to do with the “ Popes.” The inquiry after all regards the Church and Christianity as a whole; for be the case as it may now, it is not possible to separate between these and the Papacy during the Middle Ages. Christianity and the Church existed all that time in no other form.
A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE SACRED SCRIPTURES ; IN A
SERIES OF DISSERTATIONS, CRITICAL, HERMENEUTICAL AND HISTORICAL. By the Rev. Joseph Dixon, D.D. Two volumes in one, 8 vo., pp. 517. Baltimore : John Murphy & Co. Pittsburg: George Quigly. 1853. When this well executed book was received from the enterprising publishers, our first impression was that the work was thoroughly scientific. Subsequent examination, however, has shown it to be of a somewhat different character. It is an attempt to reduce what has hitherto been presented in a scientific form, to a level with the medium popular mind. We would not undervalue it though, on this account. Such works, if of the right character, are much needed just now, and are loudly called for by the masses. The general spirit of our superficial and utilitarian age does not reach after pure science, except so far as this may be brought down to serve some selfish, practical purpose. The book now before us has thus, to some extent, been laid under contribution, to aid in the great Controversy on the Church Question, which has of late grown so immensely in interest and in the earnestness of the partisans engaged on both sides. It is freighted with much useful and interesting information, well suited to any common mind, that is at all awake to the pursuit of biblical study. But the principal object of its author, evidently, has been mainly to afford to the common Catholic, as well as to the ecclesiastical novice, an every day text book. On every point which comes up, in the many subjects treated of in the book, in regard to which there are differences between Protestants and Catholics, the author is especially anxious to forwarn and post up the faithful. The huge spectre of Protestant objections against the doctrines or practices of the Church, keeps him steadily in mind of bolstering up the dogma, even at the risk of omitting something else of positive interest and real advantage. We
e are sorry that our limited space and want of time, forbid, at this time, a more thorough notice of the work, in presenting some thoughts suggested by its perusal. What was otherwise intended, must, therefore, be postponed, at least for the present. Hoping that some other occasion may be given to treat of these matters more fully, we must content ourselves with giving a brief synopsis of the subjects considered in the book.
The miscellaneous character of its contents, of course destroys the unity of plan, if there be one, on which the work was gotten up. The loss sustained here, however, is doubtless more than made up by the comprehensive range of topics considered. Some of the dissertations are deeply interesting and instructive, while at the same time, there may be some parts flat and unsatisfactory to a Protestant reader. In proportion as it is well suited to the Catholic, and is popular in that direction, it will, almost as a matter of course, be objectionable to the ultra Protestant. And indeed few, except the faithful sons of the Roman bishop, will be convinced, by an ex cathedra declaration, on a mooted point, where the different branches of biblical science, and especially history, is expected to speak.
On the canon and the inspiration of Scripture, the author is, according to our notion, exceedingly meagre and unsatisfactory. On the form, the texts, the manuscripts, the printed editions, and the versions of the Sacred Scriptures, there seems to be more completeness. · The notice of the English version, and the reading of the Scriptures in the Vulgar Tongue, we found more interesting and curious than convincing. Biblical Criticism and Hermeneutics, are, of course, treated from the writer's own peculiar stand-point, which is conditioned by his Church relation.
The second general part of the work treats of the Physical Geography of the Holy Land, of the Political, the Sacred, and the Domestic Antiquities of the Jews. And finally, gives some account of Catholic commentators, and other writers on the Scriptures. From this it will be seen that it is something like such a work as Jahn's Biblical Archaelogy, and Nevin's Biblical Antiquities.
The whole work amply repays a general perusal, or still more, a thorough study. It should be procured by all Biblical students, who have not, or who design not to have, other more extensive and thoroughly scientific treatises on the same subjects as herein considered. Persons who make such loud professions in favor of the Bible, would do well to get such helps whereby they may become better acquainted with it than many such are found to be.
R. [Several Book Notices omitted for want of room.]