« PreviousContinue »
Calvin and Servetus : The Reformer's share in the Trial of Michael Ser
vetus Historically Ascertained. From the French, with Notes and Additions. By the Rev. W. K. Tweedie. Pp. 245. Edin
burgh: John Johnstone. Seldom has one act of a man occupied so important a place in history and controversy as the part taken by Calvin in the proceedings which ended in the death of Servetus. It has been a standing reproach with those who dislike the reformer's ecclesiastical and theological principles. The present volume, which is a translation of the work of M. A Rilliet, of Geneva,* with the addition of some notes, and a sketch of Calvin's life, by the translator, contains as much as is likely ever to be known on the subject. It supplies important information which was never before published. We do not hesitate to say, that the whole places Calvin's conduct in as favourable a light as his friends had any right to expect. He was not the dark bloody-minded persecutor which he has been often represented. The fate of Servetus is doubtless to be pitied, and the act of putting him to death is to be condemned, but Calvin only believed and acted, in the matter, in accordance with the prevailing principles and practices of the times. Political considerations and duties were largely mixed up in the affair, and Calvin's immediate connection with the death of Servetus was very different from that for which he bad credit. The work deserves to be read by all lovers of truth and justice, and, whatever may be its own circulation as a book, it is cheering to think that the facts it discloses will be sure to work their way into history, which is seldom unfair in the end.
History of the Punjaub, and of the Rise, Progress, and Present Condition of the Sect and Nation of the Sikhs. 2 vols. Vol. I.
The Fawn of Sertorius. 2 vols. Vol. I.
Royal Gems from the Galleries of Europe, engraved after National Pictures of the Great Masters, with Notices, Biographical, Historical, and Descriptive. By S. C. Hall. Part V.
Auricular Confession, and Popish Nunneries. By William Hogan, formerly Roman Catholic Priest, and Author of Popery as it was and is.'
Lepage's French School. Part I. L'Echo de Paris.
A Dissertation on the Scriptural Authority, Nature and Uses of Infant Baptism. By Ralph Wardlaw, D.D. 3rd Edition. With an Appendix containing Strictures on the Views advocated by the Rev. Dr. Halley.
Ballads of the East, and other Poems. By I. P.
* Relation du Procès Criminal, Intenté a Geneve, en 1553, contre Michel Servet, redigée d'apres les documents originaux.
Practical Mercantile Correspondence. A Collection of Modern Letters of Business, with Notes, Critical and Explanatory, an Analytical Index and an Appendix, &c. &c. Third edition, revised and enlarged. By William Anderson.
Hogg's Weekly Instructor. Part XVIII.
Clarke's Foreign Library. Compendium of the History of Doctrines, By R. R. Hogenbach. Translated by Carl W. Buch.
An Essay on Primæval History. By John Kenrick.
Justice in Spiritual Things to Ireland ; being the substance of a Speech addressed to ihe General Assembly of the Free Church of Scotland, on Saturday, May 23, 1846. By the Rev. J. Carlile, D.D.
Lessons of Life and Death. A Memorial of Sarah Ball. By Elizabeth Ritchie.
Equity without Compromise, or Hints for the Construction of a Just System of National Education ; (2nd edition,) With Remarks on Dr. Hook's Pamphlet, and the Letters of Edward Baines, jun., Esq., to Lord John Russell. By Edward Swaine, Member of the Congregational Board of Education.
The Druidical Temples of the County of Wilts. By the Rev. E. Duke.
The Italian Swiss Protestants of the Grisons. By Dr. Marriott, (reprinted from. The Continental Echo,') with Two Introductory Prefaces. By the Hon. and Rev. Baptist Noel, and the Rev. James Currie, Rusholme, Man. chester.
Domestic Worship. By Dr. Merlé D'Aubigné. Translated from the French by Beata E. Macauley.
Speech of W. Ewart, Esq., M.P., on Moving Resolutions in Favour of Education, in the House of Commons, Friday, July 17, 1846.
Dick's Christian Philosopher. Vol. 1. Collins Cheap Series.
Short Sketches of the Wild Sports and Natural History of the High. lands. From the Journals of Charles St. John, Esq.
Rome, Pagan and Papal. By an English Resident in that city.
Observations in Natural History; With an Introduction on Habits of observing, as connected with the study of that science. Also a Calendar of Periodic Phenomena in Natural History, with Remarks on the Importance of such Registers. By the Rev. L. Jenyns, F.L.S., Vicar of Swaffham Bulbeck, Camb.
British Consuls Abroad; their Origin, Rank and Privileges, Duties, Jurisdiction, and Emoluments, including the Laws, Orders in Council, and Instructions by which they are Governed, as well as those relating to Shipowners and Merchants in their connexion with Consuls. By Robert Fynn, Esq., Barrister-at-Law.
*Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay, Author of Evelina,” • Cecilia,' &c. Edited by her Niece. Vol. VI. 1793—1822.
Philosophical Lectures. By the Rev. W. Leask, Minister of Zion Chapel, Dover.
Pastoral Exhortations, or the Church instructed, and the Young Invited. Two Sermons, preached at Trinity Chapel, East India Road, Poplar, London, by the Rev. George Smith, on Sunday, May 31, 1846; being the fourth anniversary of his settlement as the Minister of that place.
The Pictorial Gallery of Arts. Part XX.
For NOVEMBER, 1846.
at prabits a corests of jodhe had no sympat
Art. I.-A Retrospect of the Religious Life of England: or the Church,
Puritanism, and Free Inquiry. By John James Tayler, B.A.
London: Chapman, 1845. Pp. 563. We opened this book, expecting from it more than ordinary pleasure. Written by a Unitarian minister of eminence, it was likely to assert Unitarianism. But we were not ignorant of Mr. Tayler's reputation for a more spiritual metaphysique than is at present popular in Britain ; also for exegetical principles and habits according to the better German schools; and especially for honesty of judgment, and for the truthful revelation of his thoughts. We had no doubt, therefore, that we should find him a fair narrator of facts; a sympathising adjudicator of a man's personal character and general status ; a reverential discourser upon matters dear to men of social worth, however unimportant to himself: and, if not altogether a successful, yet a skilful physiologist of opinion, and one less prone than some among his brethren to mistake a morbid aspect for a sound but extraordinary one, or to deem wens and fungus healthy and natural developments. Nor, on closing his production, are we greatly disappointed. In the first three capacities mentioned, he bas thoroughly fulfilled our expectation ; indeed, in the second of them, he has far surpassed it. But on applying his philosophy to thoughts, rather than to men; to changes rather than to fixed facts; and of the last, to the phenomena which have held the place of truths for centuries, rather than to those which are by comparison ephemeral ; Mr. Tayler, occupying thus the fourth capacity, has proved himself, and it gives us no pleasure to record it, a much less subtile, and a much more VOL. xx.
easily satisfied examiner, than we had hoped. We say, 'than we had hoped :' for when constrained to acknowledge the existence of what seems to us a mighty evil, the more specious its occasions, the less profound would be our sorrow for the agent. Some Unitarians would deride our sorrow in proportion to its depth. Not so Mr. Tayler. He may think it unworthy of philosophers, but he knows it is the necessary produce of our faith; and though he believes it to be excited by a spectrum, and may feel annoyed when identified therewith, he prizes honest kindness far too highly to scorn it. He will understand us, therefore, when we speak of our painful disappointment on finding his endeavours to account for the rise, or what he, perhaps, would call the re-development, of Unitarianism, so much less plausible than we had anticipated from his vigour and accomplishments. The more remote his approximation to success, the less dangerous, however, do we think his book. It will do very little, we apprehend, for the promotion of Unitarianism. It is almost a continued pæan in honour of Calvinistic independency. The more we grieve for the writer, the less we tremble for his readers. We have a pleasure, therefore, as 'unphilosophical,' perhaps, but as humane as our regret. Our faith works by love like this; and the effect is not, in our esteem, an appeal against the cause.
We know few Unitarian books which we could circulate with so little hesitation and so cordial a sanction as we could the work before us. Its easy but comprehensive grouping of the facts of an era ; its well defined sketches of individual character; its ready perception of more than the most obvious forms of human moral beauty ; its cautious and tender, but not crafty, avoidance of all offensive epithets and insinuations; its manly, but not obtrusive, intimations of the writer's own opinions; its plaintive, but not dispiriting, consideration of the existing divisions in the Christian world ; these characteristics, together with its remarkably just and intelligent description of the religious tenets and peculiarities which it exhibits, constitute it not merely a pleasant and an enlightened guide to those facts of former times which especially affect the present, but a valuable suggester of important and healthful inquiries, and a tolerably safe companion when undertaking to reply to the inquiries it suggests. Its style, too, if not distinguished by any particular excellence, is clear of all remarkable faults. If occasionally, but very rarely, not the most luminous, and if not always replete with such elastic vigour as altogether to prevent the sense of dulness; it is natural, decorous, sufficiently flexible, and singularly adapted to all classes of expected readers. And if the precise thought to be conveyed be at times more obscured than we could wish, the fault is not, it may be, in the structure of the sentences at which we pause, so much as in the omission of intimations connecting the thought we are apprehending and the great general object of the work. This object, indeed, is hardly introduced before the readers; and but for a passage in the preface, we might in vain have conjectured what it was. And though it is there announced with sufficient distinctness, yet the bearing on it of many an evidently important passage is too indirect to be easily perceptible. Hence we have often been constrained to doubt whether or not we had extracted the author's real meaning; and hence less careful readers are likely to complain that it is an uninteresting book, and aims at nothing.
The second title which Mr. Tayler has given to his volume, indicates the topics of his more important chapters. A chapter introductory to the whole; another, contrasting The Church' and 'Puritanism ;' a brief Conclusion;' and ample Notes ;' these, in addition, constitute the book. And a more unmanageable book for a critical reviewer we have rarely met with. Our memoranda on points on which we should like to engage in friendly discussion with the author, may be counted by hundreds. And these points are not susceptible of classification; nor are they, generally, of such a character, in the form at least in which they come before us, as to admit of our simple affirmation or denial. To enumerate and clarify them would require, however, a volume larger than our author's. We warn our readers, therefore, in relation to these minor matters, that, while recommending this retrospect' to their consideration, we are not prepared to identify it with our own. And after extracting two or three admirable passages, such as introduce our Unitarian friend in an advantageous light, we shall brieflycomment on a few instances of what we deem questionable points, and shall then frankly oppose what obstacles we can to the great design avowed by Mr. Tayler in his preface.
The following is part of our author's account of Dr. Owen :
"A man of a different stamp, more profoundly learned in theology, of an intellect more severely consequential and rigidly dogmatic, but less open, genial, and comprehensive, was Dr. Owen, the celebrated leader of the Independents. The congregational system had been supported by some great names before his time ; but his numerous writings, high reputation, and great personal influence, gave it form and character, and impressed upon it the peculiar features of his mind, as Baxter left bis on Presbyterianism. . . . . . . . . The character and principles of Owen present in several respects a marked contrast to those of Baxter. Each had his own decided view of the great questions of religious truth and liberty in which they