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Ancient Christianity. By the Author of Spiritual Despotism.' Nos. 1, 2, 3. London: Jackson and Walford,


The author appears to promise two, or perhaps three, more numbers. We feel debarred from reviewing an incomplete work, although what has already appeared is a whole, taken by itself: but we cannot defer any longer to call our reader's attention to this interesting and auspicious production.

It is professedly written against the new High Church school of divinity; whom it attacks with weapons hitherto used by none of their opponents. Instead of contending against these modern divines, or assailing tradition by abstract topics, he comes directly to the question, What is that doctrine which they are calling on us to adopt?' Their golden age is the Nicene era; their teachers, the Nicene theologians; meaning hereby, chiefly those of the fourth century, but also their predecessors of the third. This our author denotes as ancient Christianity, in opposition to apostolic Christianity. He urges that it must be taken as a whole, and not by picking and choosing at our will; of which the Oxford divines are thoroughly aware, although they are now translating select treatises of their favorite writers so as to give a most partial exhibition of the system. This work is, then, intended to bring strongly into view such cardinal points of the Nicene theology as its modern votaries are fain to keep, for the present, in the back ground.

The first of these points is the merit of Virginity; which the author shows to be the great pivot of the system. From it, or with it, followed unbounded fanaticism, shocking dissoluteness, degradation and perversion of the moral principle, the celibacy of the clergy, ascetic practices; also monachism, and conventual establishments, alternating between sanctimonious hypocrisy and rigorous cruelty. With monachism grew up legends and false miracles innumerable, and the entire science (so to say) of demonology. The same fanaticism, overflowing in another channel, produced extravagant honors to martyrdom, insolent assumption of spiritual authority by confessors, miracles wrought by relics, and unbounded superstition concerning the eucharist. Meanwhile the church was practically divided into two classes, saints and common Christians, the fanatical will-worship of the former being a sort of justification of worldliness in the latter; and certainly a discouragement of all genuine virtue and piety. Amid these antichristian absurdities the gospel of the grace of God was lost: nay, the ability to understand the Scripture was almost destroyed. False meanings were put on its terms; thus chastity and purity were understood solely of the unmarried state; saints were interpreted as indicating the select inner church all the promises were appropriated to them alone. A mystical mode of exposition was introduced, contemptible for its puerility, but fatally alluring, and turning holy writ into a series of


riddles or quibbles. Such practices, according to our author, had already reached a fearful height in the third century; and the most eminent doctors of the fourth exerted all their strength to support the entire system of error.

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Mr. Taylor does not merely assert; he PROVES this: so proves it, that we do not apprehend his opponents will choose to meet the main argument. They will probably attack only secondary questions, such as his opinion that the merit attached to virginity rose out of Gnostic doctrine, imbibed unawares by the church, while in conflict with that heresy. According to him, Buddhism and Brahminism' formed the two elements of that monkery which all the great saints of the fourth century lauded to the skies. Against this unpleasing thought the new Nicenists will perhaps exert their chief efforts. The Author has also made himself somewhat vulnerable to an uncandid adversary by a needless show of paradox in some of his statements, and by an apparent vacillation of opinion as to the real spiritual character of these ancient divines. We are bound also to say that some of his allusions to the Dissenting body are far from being in good taste. But in so concise a notice, the minor blemishes which strike us in the work disappear in comparison with its sterling merits earnestly hope that it will attain the wide circulation to which its learning, its sobriety and tone of sound virtue, its general candor, its genuine religious spirit, and the high importance of its topic, entitle it; and we are gratified to learn that the first number is already out of print In our opinion that number is decidedly inferior to the two others; we hope that the purchasers of the first will lose no time in ordering

the rest.


In concluding, we would remark, that the general argument might operate to drive into Romanism those who are so infatuated with their tradition as to hold it at any cost: and this gives great importance to that part of the investigation which traces home to Gnosticism, Platonism, Buddhism, Soofecism, (for all appear to possess the common element,) the ascetism of the ancient church. Indeed, this part of the subject deserves to be developed and enforced with the author's utmost power; for to trace historically the parentage of the error is the most forcible of confutations to the votaries of tradition.

The Evangelist. An Itinerant Ministry shown to be the Ministry of the New Testament; and a Compulsory Itinerary proved to be Unscriptural and fatal to the Religious Liberty of Ministers and Churches. Also Remarks upon a Trust-Deed, Proposed to the Wesleyan Association. In a Letter to a Friend. By OMICRON. 8vo. pp. 37. London: 1839,

The gist of this pamphlet, which the title we have just copied so fully describes, lies in its bearing on a deed poll, by which, it seems, with a sort of hereditary infatuation, that child of Methodism, the Wesleyan Association, is about to bind itself-we were going to say in swaddling, but we should rather say in funeral bands. The writer of it argues most justly, and we think unanswerably, against this crushing

of Christian liberty, and fettering of evangelical truth; and we should be truly happy to see the men, who, for freedom's sake, have broken away from the fearful tyranny of one Conference, shunning, with enlightened and unconquerable hatred, the constitution of another. It is little to the credit either of their heads or their hearts, that it should be said of them, that their struggles against the domination of others have been intended only to enthrone themselves. The proceeds of Omicron's letter are appropriated to a Sabbath-school library.

Medical Notes and Reflections. By Henry Holland, M.D., F.R.S. London: Longman and Co. 8vo. 1839.

Dr. Holland's book is exclusively devoted to the elucidation of medical subjects, and its special professional bearing precludes us from giving it more than a brief and cursory notice. Its claims to the attention of the medical profession are founded on its embodying the results of twenty years medical practice in London, and the reflections on the number of facts accumulated during this period. There is no surer method of testing the truth of theoretical views than a careful retrospect of materials thus collected-and a generalization of them—if executed in an impartial and philosophical spirit, will rarely fail to secure valuable results. False experience is the prevailing corruption of medical science, and were Dr. Holland's example more frequently followed, of patiently registering facts, and suspending for a similar period the conclusions derived from them, we should rarely witness the promulgation of vague and immature opinions, which obstruct the progress of truth, impair testimony, and serve only to mislead. The author does not indulge in speculative inquiry, but treats practically a series of miscellaneous subjects. The absence of systematic arrangement and strict elementary knowledge, renders the work ill-adapted for the medical student; but the scientific medical practitioner will collect much that is useful from the several topics treated on, and will gather many valuable hints to guide him in some of the embarrassing and anomalous cases which he may encounter in private practice. The style is pure and elegant, and very free from the ambiguous expressions which afford so convenient a shelter for loose and undefined notions.

Choral Psalmody for the Church and the Family; consisting of Seventy-Eight Original Melodies; in Four Parts, with an Accompaniment for the Organ or Piano Forte; written expressly for the Peculiar Measures Contained in the Church and Home Psalmody,' of the Rev. T. J. Judkin, M.A. By I. Cobbin.

Mr. Judkin has laudably employed his poetical talents in furnishing his congregation with a Church and Home Psalmody' well adapted for all the purposes of worship, whether public or domestic; nor has he been less attentive in providing appropriate melodies to his beautifully simple compositions. To Mr. Cobbin both the minister of Somers Chapel' and his large circle of friends are greatly indebted for

uniting the gratification of refined taste with the hallowed enjoyment of devout feelings.

These melodies have the merit of amplest adaptation to the words for which they were composed, while at the same time they may be rendered available for other words of the same measure, and possessing a similar character. As Mr. Judkin's work is chiefly restricted to his own congregation, this is a consideration of importance to those who may wish to introduce the music into their public services or to adapt it to a psalmody of their own. The varied character of the compositions considering the narrow limits prescribed to their author, is highly creditable to his ingenuity and power, but he has abundant resources in himself. While by far the greater part of the melodies may be used either in public worship or in families where sacred music is cultivated, a few of them must be considered as exclusively domestic. This, indeed, the author mentions in his preface.

Throughout these varied productions Mr. Cobbin has rigidly adhered to the true choral style, to the exclusion of imitations and other gross violations of that majestic simplicity which ought preeminently to characterize public worship. On the whole, our opinion is that Mr. Cobbin has produced a work on the true principles of musical composition and good taste.

The Inquirer. October, 1839. Art. The Plymouth Brethren and the Eclectic Review. London: J. Dumas.

Want of space compels us to defer till next month an article which we had prepared in reply to the statements and reasonings of this paper. In the meantime we request our readers to possess themselves of the Inquirer for October, that they may be fully competent to judge of the correctness of the strictures we shall submit to them on our next appearance.

Literary Entelligence.

In the Press.

Dr. Johnson is preparing for the press a History of the British Sponges and Corallines. To be printed and illustrated in the same style as his History of the British Zoophytes, to which this New Work may be considered as a Supplement, and as completing his original design.

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Nearly ready for publication, in two volumes octavo, Discourses on Special Occasions.' By the late Rev. Dr. M'All, of Manchester, with a Sketch of his Life and Character by the Rev. Dr. Wardlaw.

In a few days will be published, in 2 vols. post 8vo., 'The Maiden Monarch; or, Island Queen.'

The Shield of Dissent; or Dissent in its Bearings on Legislation, especially on 'The Lord's Day,' National Education, Public Documents, Religious Taxation, &c., with Strictures on Dr. Brown's Work on Tribute. By Edward Swaine.

Continental India, Travelling Sketches, and Historical Recollections, Illustrating the Antiquity, Religion, and Manners of the Hindoos, the extent of British Conquests, and the Progress of Missionary Operations. By J. W. Massie, M.R.S.A. Two vols.

Just Published.

Finden's Tableaux: the Iris of Prose, Poetry, and Art, for 1840. Illusstrated with Engravings by W. and E. Finden, from Paintings by J. Browne. Edited by Mary Russell Mitford.

Gems of Beauty Displayed in a Series of Twelve highly finished Engravings on Various Subjects. From Designs by Edward Corbould, Esq. With Fanciful Illustrations in Verse. By the Countess of Blessington.

Heath's Book of Beauty for 1840. With beautifully finished Engravings from Drawings by the first Artists. Edited by the Countess of Blessington. The Keepsake for 1840. Edited by The Lady E. Stuart Wortley.

Heath's Picturesque Annual for 1840. Windsor Castle and its Environs. By Leitch Ritchie, Esq. With fifteen Engravings by the first Artists, after Original Designs.

Forget-Me-Not; a Christmas, New Year's, and Birthday Present for 1840. Edited by Frederic Shoberl.

The Oriental Annual; containing a Series of Tales, Legends, and Historical Romances. By Thomas Bacon, Esq., F.S.A. With Engravings by W. and E. Finden, from Sketches by the Author and Captain Meadows Taylor. Friendship's Offering; and Winter's Wreath: a Christmas and New Year's Present for 1840.

The Little Forget-Me-Not.

The Redeemer. A Poem. By William Howorth.

Mariamne, the Last of the Asmonean Princesses: a Historical Novel of Palestine.

The Life and Times of Sir Thomas Gresham; Compiled chiefly from his Correspondence preserved in Her Majesty's State-Paper Office including Notices of many of his Contemporaries. With Illustrations. By John W. Burgon Two vols.

History of Denmark, Sweden, and Norway. By S. A. Dunham. Vol. II. (Lardner's Cyclopædia.)

Part II.

An Encyclopædia of Rural Sports. By D. P. Blaine. Ward's Library of Standard Divinity. A Short Explanation of the Epistle of Paul to the Hebrews. By D. Dickson, A.M. Reprinted from the Edition of 1649.

Tracts for the People, designed to Vindicate Religious and Christian Liberty. No. 1. A Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes. By John Milton.

Sermons on Faith and Practice. By the Rev. George Clayton.

The Fathers have no Authority to determine Articles of Faith. An Essay delivered in the Divinity School, Oxford, October 16, 1839. Being one of two Exercises read for the Degree of Bachelor in Divinity. By Thomas Byrth, D.D.

Letters from Germany and Belgium. By An Autumn Tourist.

The Question, Will Christ's Reign during the Millennium be Personal? Answered from Scripture. By Charles Morrison.

Universal Redemption Considered. By the Author of 'Parental Responsibility.'

A Comparative View of Ancient History; Embracing a Sketch of the Contemporary History of the Nations of Antiquity, &c. By Joshua Toulmin Smith.

On the Relation between the Holy Scriptures and Some Parts of Geological Science. By John Pye Smith, D.D., F.G.S.

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