Imágenes de página



The Progress of Religious Sentiment. The vantage, as assertors of truth and

Advancement of the Principles of Civil and liberty; as faithful witnesses for Christ; Religious Freedom. The Affinity of Ro

as bold preachers of the gospel in ages manism, Tractarianism, and Baptismal when perils and death tracked the way; Regeneration ; also Diversities of Creeds,

as true philanthropists, ready to every Modes of Christian Communion, and

good word and work ; as untiring asErungelical Statistics. An Historical

sailants of every form of error in church Sketch. By Joseph ADSHEAD, Manchester. Thirty-two Articles of Christian

and state ; and last, though not least, Faith and Practice, Catechism, fc. Lon as patriots, loyal to the constitution of don: Houlston and Stoneman. 12mo. their country, and obedient to its laws pp. ccxviii. and 95.

wherever they were conformed to the

laws of God. We cannot regret the Full as is Mr. Adshead's title page, it publication of a work in which so much yet presents an inadequate conception is done to place the labours and trials of the nature and multifarious contents of our forefathers in a true light, and of his volume. His primary intent are disposed to recommend the book to appears to have been to reprint, with a our readers with cordiality and apbrief historical account of baptist sen- proval. timents, one of the several confessions If, however, there appears some hesiof faith put forth by baptists in the tation in our approval, it is because we seventeenth century. His introduction feel regret that no history worthy of the has expanded out of all proportion to denomination has yet appeared, and the latter part of the volume, and has such compilations as the present are but been made to include a variety of topics poor substitutes for it. The reiteration connected by a very slender tie with of facts, however true, does not constithe real object of his work. Unity tute a history. The repositories of Crosof purpose there is none. The entire by, Taylor, and Ivimey are open to all, narrative is discursive, yet embodying and the incessant reproduction of the a large amount of interesting matter, same incidents, with scraps from imparmore or less denominational. If dis- tial writers, who, after all, are but posed to find fault with this want of imperfectly informed on the subject, plan and object, we could scarcely give tends only to weariness and disgust. expression to complaint, since the price No one who has read attentively the of the whole compilation is so extremely works referred to will for a moment low as not to reach the value of the re- think them sufficient,-much less, abprinted Confession with its accompany- stracts or brief compendiums of them. ing Catechism. This portion of the Crosby professedly made it his object volume alone is pecuniarily worth the to collect only materials ; and most price charged for the entire volume of precious they are. Multitudes of his

facts would have been irretrievably lost The work is professedly a compila- had he not just at that time gathered tion. Our author has with much and them into his net. The fathers were commendable diligence availed himself passing away. The men who had been, of the admitted facts of baptist history. or who knew the actors in the stirring He has formed a rosary of incidents in scenes of Cromwell's time were rapidly which baptists appear to no little ad- entering on their rest, when Crosby

313 pages.

stood forth to rescue their names from ! ton and Warboys churches in Huntingoblivion and their deeds from forgetful- donshire. He sought out also with much ness. All honour to the simple-hearted diligence the printed works of the earlier schoolmaster for his untiring patience, writers, and has thereby thrown much his indefatigable research, and his gene- light on their sentiments and history. rally accurate pen. To him our suc- His narrative is clear and his researches ceeding historians have chiefly been judicious, and, as a history, is in most indebted for their leading facts. respects superior to that of his contem

Ivimey in particular, in his first two porary, Mr. Ivimey. volumes, has drawn largely on this

Passing by the numerous smaller source, and not always with care. His compilations, few of which have drawn work, extending to four volumes, ap- their materials from original sources peared at various intervals from 1811 to (the interesting work of the late Mr. 1830, and embraces not only an historical Douglas on the Northern Baptists is, survey of the whole period of English however, a noteworthy exception to this baptist history till the close of last remark), we may observe that all our century, but also a valuable collection writers refer more or less at length to of documents, many of them original, the traces of baptist sentiments in the on the origin and the continuance of early and mediæval ages of the church. many baptist churches throughout the On this point the want of original country, with slight memoirs of the research is most evident. One after various ministers that have exercised the other, baptist authors have been the pastorate over them. With a warni content to cull such scattered flowers as attachment to the principles of his ecclesiastical writers have permitted to denomination, Ivimey united a vigor- crop out amid the multitudinous details ous zeal for their extension, and great of every extensive work on church hisenergy in the collection of historical tory. There has been very little, if any, materials that would illustrate them. attempt to investigate the original The chief deficiency of his work is in sources of information. Quotations the little use he has made of the printed from the fathers have been taken seproductions of the old writers, a large cond-hand. The candid or forced adnumber of which he had never seen, and missions of partisans of Rome, or of perhaps knew not where to find. For the other ecclesiastical but unscriptural most part he confines his attention to systems, have been seized with avidity. that part of the denomination in whose No calm, philosophic view of the proviews he had the deepest sympathy, the gress of sentiment from age to age particular baptists : it was left to others has been taken, the statement of which to give in more detail and with greater from its impartiality and accuracy impartiality, the story of the rise and should force assent from reluctant fall of the General Baptist body; with adversaries. To the present moment its revival into evangelic life under the it is a debateable question whether the modern designation of the New Con- Albigenses and the Waldenses were nexion.

baptists, although the materials for The General Baptists have for their decision are abundant in Reinerius historian, Mr. Adam Taylor, an excellent Saccho, in Limborch's work on the minister of the New Connexion. In Inquisition, especially in the appendix, his work he has made much use of containing the sentences of some six manuscript documents, and especially hundred persons belonging to their of the valuable records of the Fenstan- ' sect. What baptist has diligently



explored the writings of Ebrard of but few are the men among us in this Bethune, St. Bernard, and Ermengard, country to whom leisure and opportuor the important work of Moneta, with nity is at command for so important the productions of Luke bishop of Tuy, a work. We would fain hope that some of Pilichdorf, or the spirited sermons of one of our American brethren, whose Eckbert of Cologne against the Cathari ? | attention has of late been much drawn Neither Robinson, with all his extensive to the subject, will be found ready researches and acquirements, nor W. and suffi-iently disengaged to enter on Jones in his work on the Waldenses, the extensive researches it will demand. has made the use that might be made of The eminent abilities of Dr. Williams these and other sources of information peculiarly fit him for the task; and we which occur to us as we write. Bap- cannot but anticipate, with some confitists indeed may be satisfied with the dence, that he will enter upon it in testimonies which ooze out from time to generous consent to the oft-repeated time in the course of some grave dis- wishes of his friends. cussion on other matters, or that start If more progress has been made in forth from the page of some book-worm, original research into the history of whose love for antiquity has caused him English baptists, there is nevertheless to turn over the ponderous tomes of the wanting that breadth of view which Bibliotheca Maxima, or the more ma- gives value to the separate facts of nageable collections of D'Achery, Gretser, history, and binds them into a bright and De la Bigne, and to jot down some chain of luminous thought and harnoticeable and neglected trait of the monious design. Facts are treated as past; but the true tale of the past has isolated events. Those fine threads of yet to be written, as baptists alone can thought or feeling which link the inwrite it.*

cidents of life together are not traced Yes, the history of the church and of out, indicating the overruling power of its sects, of the heresies that sprung some necessary law, or the constant up during the centuries of its rise, its working of Him who ruleth all things triumph, its corruption, and its decline, for the good of his people. We look in has yet to be written from that ground vain for a statement of those fundawhich takes for its starting point and mental principles which have made the its test the pure gospel, and judges baptists in every age what they have events not by the erring standards of been and are, which have governed creeds, or hierarchies, or ecclesiastical their church polity, their relations to politics, but by the only true criterion, other churches and to states. Why in the word of the living God. A history this place rather than in that baptist that shall weigh the actions of churches sentiments have prevailed, our writers and men, of bishops and priests, of have not thought it worth while to kings and subjects, of heretics and inquire. It would seem as if by chance sects, with the balance of the sanctuary, that here and there a few sorrowful and will present the past in an aspect very persecuted men ventured to speak for different to that it wears in the pages Christ and his word. Protests are made of a Mosheim or a Milner. Perhaps only where some evil has to be re

sisted. Truth is often uttered only

when some falsehood challenges its * The bibliography of the Waldenses may be right. Much light is also thrown on found in the fourth volume of Muston's recent work, and of the Cathari or Albigenses in Schmidt's

single events by the circumstances of the second volume.

time, by ascertaining the predominant ideas of the age, by looking backwards | Ac's'lead speaks as if it were first and forwards on the evolutions of published in 1689, and from a paragraph Providential design. If these land- on p. 9 we should gather that he has marks are overlooked, then do the facts copied it from Dr. Rippon's Register, of history appear without their moral, where it was reprinted in 1801 or 1802. or that lesson of wisdom they ought to But if so, he has given 1689 for 1688. teach. We have yet to learn those in which latter year Dr. Rippon says it occult, or perhaps patent causes which

was first printed. But in fact both the gave the baptists such wide-spread influ- Doctor and Mr. Adshead are wrong. The ence in the days of the Commonwealth, first edition appeared in 1677, the second which led to the gradual decay of piety in 1688 ; the third in 1699 ; the fourth subsequent to the Toleration Act of in 1719. and the fifth in 1720; copies of William III., and rendered the labours all of which now lie before us. To the of a Whitefield and a Wesley as necessary first and second editions is added an to the revival of pure religion and “ Appendix concerning Baptism," omitevangelic zeal in baptist churches as to ted in the subsequent editions, and also the recovery of the nation from its in the reprints of Dr. Rippon and Mr. ungodliness and sin.

Adshead. We should like to have seen We express a conviction that has this appendix reproduced. The edition been forced upon us by much inquiry, of 1688 was simply adopted and reand after matured observation, that a commended by the Assembly of 1689, history of the baptists has yet to be as may be seen by their own words, written that shall be worthy of them which probably gave rise to the idea and of those great principles of truth that it was then for the first time and liberty which they have been raised prepared. The recommendation preup in the providence of God to fixed to the edition of 1688, with the propagate and maintain. Some fields of names of thirty-seven members of the investigation are yet unvisited. The Assembly attached thereto, must have story of their sufferings and wrongs been given after the book was printed, during the era of the Reformation has and the leaf containing it pasted into yet to be told, and the abuse and the copies. And indeed one of the two calumnies of papists and protestants copies beiore us is without the recomalike to be thrown aside. If we mistake mendation, as if issued previous to its not it will be found that of all the being approved by the Assembly. We parties which then struggled for ascend- are unable to determine the authorship ency, there was not one of purer of the Confession. It purports to be morals, of sublimer faith, of more 'put forth by the elders and brethren heroic endurance, or of more manly exhi- of many congregations of Christians bition of the great truths of revelation. (baptized upon profession of their faith) “But the Lord knoweth them that are in London and the country ; " but who His."

they were is at present unknown. It To return to what is perhaps the seems, however, to have received its most valuable portion of our author's final revision from the hands of Dr. labours, the reprint of the Baptist Con- Nehemiah Cox and Mr. William Collins, fession of Faith, we could have been and was most probably their production glad had Mr. Adshead given us some in thc first instance. The reprint of more precise information as to its

* Crosby gives the Appendix in his text, vol. ii. origin, and the edition from which his

p. 317 ; but omits it in his own Appendix, where he reprint is taken. In his Preface Mr. reprints the Confession.

[ocr errors]

Vr. Adshead has this advantage over all cause has appeared vanquished, and, if editions that have preceded it; that the it have again revived, it has usually Scripture references are quoted at been under circumstances of disadlength, instead of being merely indicated vantage, and seemingly to maintain at in the margin.

best a doubtful strife.

Like the sun, This confession is not the only one however, struggling with clouds and put forth by the baptists of that age. shadows, and but seldom revealing its Mr. Smyth and his companions pub- radiant countenance, yet steadily purlished one in 1611, which Crosby gives. suing its upward course ; so the eleThere was also one prepared by seven ments of human happiness, notwithLondon congregations in 1643, of which standing all appearances to the coneditions appeared in 1644, 1646, 1651, trary, have, upon the whole, been steadily and 1652. Some churches in Somerset- progressive, and have now acquired a shire also issued one in 1646 and 1656. diffusion and potency which augur well All these were intended, not as rules of for the future. faith by which the conscience should be Whatever gentle or sluggish spirits bound, but rather as apologies and may desire, the present are no times exemplars of the principles held and for the indulgence of repose. Both maintained by the baptist churches. good and evil are too active to admit of They uniformly regarded the scriptures this. Aggression is the order of the as the sole rule of faith, and bowed only day. Pretence and reality have begun to its decisions.

in right earnest to marshal their reA collection of the public documents, spective forces, and have already comdeclarations, and confessions of the mitted themselves to a struggle which baptists would be a highly useful and may be alike painful and prolonged ; valuable volume; and it is therefore but the final issues of which are not with pleasure that we note the an-doubtful. Meanwhile, every one who nouncement made by the Council of the would enjoy the crowning commendaHanserd Knollys Society, that they tion, “Well done, good and faithful have in preparation such a volume, as servant !" has a part to perform which an addition to the list of their very is likely to test his principles, and to valuable series of publications.

task all his resources.

The volume, whose title we have given above, is emphatically a book for

“the times.” Its theme, its style of Footsteps of our Forefathers :- what they

getting up, and the sentiments it incul. Suffered and what they Sought. By J. cates, are all such as will prove taking G. MIALL. With Thirty-six Engravings.

in a multitude of instances. If conLondon: A. Cockshaw, 41, Ludgate Hill. duct us in thought to bygone times, it Library for the Times.

brings us into communion with charac

ters and principles which will never The present times are unusually lose their interest, but which will pregnant with interest. Almost all command attention and acquire power things are in a transition state. The as years roll on, and the beneficent past has been, for the most part, dark schemes of Providence receive developand troublous. Truth, and freedom, ment. With a pleasing frequency, the and holiness, have been in perpetual limner's pencil comes to the aid of the conflict with prevalent error, tyranny, narrator's design ; bringing before the and impiety. Sometimes the better eye of the reader scenes of which he

[ocr errors]




« AnteriorContinuar »