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A Body of Divinity : wherein the Doctrines of the Christian Religion are
explained and defended : being the substance of several Lectures on the Assembly's Larger Catechism. By Thomas Ridgeley, D.D. A new edition, revised, corrected, and illustrated with Notes, by the Rev. John M. Wilson. In two volumes. pp. 647, 666. Glasgow.
A. Fullarton & Co. * Body of Divinity'— Catechism'! We can fancy some of our readers surprised at the words, and looking up as if in expectation of the entrance of a ghost. These are things that belong rather to a past age than the present, and will be naturally left behind in the advancement of the church to her full perfection. Yet we are not prepared to condemn such things. They have their advantages as well as disadvantages. They may be used well by those who know how to use them. And to such, and while the church is in anything like its present state, we can safely and warmly recommend the volumes before us.
Dr. Ridgeley was a man of considerable note in his day. He became, in 1695, pastor of an Independent church, at the Three Cranes, near Thames Street, where he continued about forty years. In 1712, he succeeded Dr. Chauncy, who was the first tutor of the oldest Independent College in the kingdom, now known as Homerton College. He took a prominent and active part in the controversies occasioned by the revival of Arianism. To his zeal for orthodoxy, when assailed with no common vigour, we owe his · Body of Divinity,' the substance of which was probably delivered to his theological pupils. It was well received, obtained flattering commendations, met with a rapid sale, and made its author Doctor of Divinity. We think the lectures fully entitled to the praise of Drs. Bogue and Bynnett,— They display soundness of judgment, extensive learning, and an intimate acquaintance with the sacred oracles. That he was a Calvinist, when we have mentioned his connexions, need scarcely be told; but he differs, in several instances, from their commonly-received opinions, and discovers a freedom of thought which shows a man determined to explain the Scriptures for himself.'
The present edition is by far the most valuable that has been published. The pains taken by the editor are beyond all praise. He might have almost written a body of divinity with less trouble than he has expended on the getting up of this edition. We have, for the first time, a short Life of the author; more than a hundred notes, making a book of themselves, and written with judgment and shrewdness, and in a spirit of perfect independence; and innumerable alterations of a verbal character, required by the style of his author. We have, altogether, seldom seen an old work got up by publisher and editor in a more thoroughly respectable manner; and if, as some think, the taste for old divinity is increasing, we do not imagine the claim of Dr. Ridgeley can be denied, or will be neglected.
Just Published. Biblical Cabinet. Commentary on the Psalms. By E. W. Hengstenberg, Dr. and Professor of Theology in Berlin. Vol. 1. Translated by the Rev. P. Fairbairn, Minister at Salton; and the Rev. J. Thompson, A. M., Minister at Leith. The Cottager's Sabbath, and other Poems. By John Hurrey.
The Law of Christ for maintaining and extending his Church. By the Rev. David Young, D.D., of Perth.
A complete Treatise of Practical Geometry and Mensuration, with numerous Exercises. By James Elliot. Key to ditto. By James Elliott.
Studies in English Poetry, with short Biographical Sketches and Notes, explanatory and critical, intended as a Text Book for the higher classes in Schools, and as an Introduction to the Study of English Literature. By Joseph Payne.
Self Inspection. By the Rev. Denis Kelly, M. A.
Sabbath Evening Readings. First Series. By the Rev. Denis Kelly, M. A.
The Diplomatic Correspondence of the Right Honourable Richard Hill, L.L.D., F.R.S., &c., &c., Envoy Extraordinary from the court of St. James to the Duke of Savoy, in the Reign of Queen Anne. From: July 1703, to May 1706, supplemental to the History of Europe, and illustrative of the secret policy of some of the most distinguished Sovereigns and Statesmen, relative to the Spanish Succession; of the rights and liberties of the Vaudois, &c., &c. With autographs of many illustrious Individuals. Edited by the Rev. W. Blackley, B.A., Vols. 2.
Hebrew Dramas : founded on incidents of Bible History. By William Tennant, Professor of Oriental languages in the University of St. Andrews.
The Rationale of Religious Enquiry, or the question stated of reason, the bible, and the church ; in six lectures. By James Martineau.
Impressions of America and the American Churches. From the Journal of the Rev. G. Lewis, one of the deputation of the Free Church of Scotland, to the United States.
The Complete Works of the Rev. Andrew Fuller, with a memoir of his life. By the Rev. Andrew Gunton Fuller. Parts 2 and 3.
A Family History of Christ's Universal Church. By the Rev. Henry Stebbing, Þ.D. Part 3.
The Biblical Repository, and Classical Review. Edited by John Holmes Agnew.
The Kingdom of Christ not of this world. An Introductory Discourse delivered at the Ordination of the Rev. T. Davis, of Maidenhead. By John H. Godwin.
Cobbin's Child's Commentator on the Holy Scriptures. Part V.
The Young Ladies' Reader; or, Extracts from Modern Authors. Adapted for Educational or Family use, &c. By Mrs. Ellis.
Bible Illustrations. A description of Manners and Customs peculiar to the East; especially explanatory of the Holy Scriptures. By the Rev. B. H. Draper. 4th Edition; Revised by John Kitto.
The Conchologist Text Book; embracing the arrangements of Le Marck, Linnæus, &c. 6th Edition. By Wm. Macgillivray,
Diary of Travels in France and Spain. Chiefly in the year 1844. By the Rev. Francis French, 2 Vols.
The Constitution of Apostolical Churches, or Outlines of Congregationalism : with two Addresses suited to the Times. By J. Spencer Pearsall.
The Modern Orator. The Speeches of the Earl of Chatham.
Impression of Australia Felix, during four years residence on that colony. Notes of a Voyage round the World. Australian Poems, &c. By Richard Howitt.
FOR MAY, 1845.
Art. 1. The New Statute and Mr. Ward. By the Rev. F. D. Maurice,
Chaplain of Guy's Hospital, and Professor of English Literature, King's College, London. 2. Thoughts on the Rule of Conscientious Subscription. By ditto. 3. The Proposed Degradation and Declaration. By G. Moberly,
D. C. L., Head Master of Winchester College. 4. Heads of Consideration on the case of Mr. Ward. By the Rev. J.
Keble, late Fellow of Oriel College. 5. Oxford: Tract 90: and Ward's Ideal of a Christian Church, a Practical Suggestion, &c. By the Rev. W. S. Bricknell, M. A., of Worcester College, and one of the Oxford City Lecturers. 6. Subject of Tract90 Historically Examined. By the Rev. F. Oakeley, M.A., Fellow of Balliol College, Oxford, Prebendary of Lichfield, and Minister of Margaret Chapel, St. Mary-le-bone. 7. M.D.CCC.XLV, the Month of January, Oxford. By W. Winstanley Hull, M.A., of Lincoln's Inn, Barrister at Law, late Fellow of Brasenose College. 8. A Letter to the Vice Chancellor of the University of Oxford, &c. By A. C. Tait, D.C.L., Head Master of Rugby School, late Fellow and Tutor of Balliol College. 9. Case of the Proposed Degradation and Declaration, on the Statute of Feb. 13. Submitted to Sir J. Dodson, Knt., Queen's Advocate, and R. Bethell, Esq., Q. C. VOL. XVII.
10. The University, the Church, and the New Test. By the Rev. J.
Garbett, Prebendary of Chichester, and Professor of Poetry in the
University of Oxford. 11. An Address to Members of Convocation, in Protest against the proposed Statute. By the Rev. W. G. Ward, M.A., Fellow of Balliol
College, Oxford. 12. The Oxford Chronicle.
The above are but a small selection from a host of pamphlets and other productions of the press, which, as soon as the intentions of the Hebdomadal Board, in the case of Mr. Ward, were announced, entered in rapid succession the arena of controversy. Every week witnessed the arrival of new literary forces; and as the meeting of convocation drew near, the intensity of the approaching strife became more strongly apparent. Oxford was evidently to be the scene and the centre of a most unusual excitement. Within the walls of those venerable structures which, in their silent majesty seem the very personification of contemplative calmness, how many a learned head was full of anxious thought, how many a heart was palpitating with anticipation and doubt as to the result of the thirteenth of February ensuing; while the tables of the common rooms were groaning beneath the weight of Appeals, Warnings, and Considerations, addressed to the members of convocation. Even the lighthearted under-graduates ventured an excursion now and then into the regions of thought, and exchanged their sentiments with others of their order with a seriousness quite unusual. The citizens, also, forgetting that hereditary awe which university · Brahminism inspires, took an unwonted interest in the ecclesiastical struggle, and not only discussed pretty freely the merits of the controversy, but chose their side, and favoured, at least with their ardent wishes, one or other of the great belligerent parties. But the interest in the proceedings against Mr. Ward was not confined to the city of palaces ;' the pulsations of this central heart were felt more or less throughout Europe; there was not, we imagine, a zealous supporter of the papacy, nor a thoughtful protestant, between the Ganges and the Isis, whom tidings of this case had reached, who felt uninterested in its issue.
But why should the proceedings of a literary and theological body towards one of its own members create so general a sensation? What had the community at large to do with the charge of broken faith, and the loss of academical honours ? So, without doubt, thought many while they were pursuing their secularities, or working out their professional vocations, and so, as certainly, thought many a German, who casually heard of the theological disputes between the ecclesiastical authorities, and the monk of Erfurth. Were the case to which we now refer of an isolated kind, were its consequences limited to Mr. Ward, it might pass by, as do university proceedings in general, without exciting interest or inviting comment. is only an outward symptom of morbid action throughout a vast system, one single indication of the approaching war of elements, the extent and the consequences of which no sagacity can foresee. Mr. Ward, has, like many a knight of the olden time of high and ardent chivalry, stepped forth from the ranks, and, reckless of danger, has thrown down his gauntlet in the face of a formidable array of hostile power ; but he stands not alone; besides his shield-bearer Mr. Oakeley, there is a host, many of whom may blame his temerity, and would have preferred the counsels of the πολύμητις Οδυσσεύς of Littlemore, , who are nevertheless banded in the same cause, and prepared for the great conflict. It may, indeed, be regarded as an affair of advanced posts, but such partial collisions frequently are the prelude to a general engagement. We must therefore regard this demonstration, not merely as an affair personal to Mr. Ward; we must look at it not merely in this single point; to estimate its value, we must take a wider range, a more comprehensive view.
It was early in 1833 that a few Oxford divines, deeply imbued with the love of ecclesiastical antiquarianism, and seriously alarmed at the position of the English church and the aspect of the times, met to exchange their sympathies in mutual condolence, and, if possible, to concert measures to meet the present exigency. A tide of popular opinion, unfavourable to the high pretensions and the exclusive spirit of the Church of England, had set in. The Act of Catholic Emancipation had passed, which removed civil disabilities on the ground of religious opinion, from a large portion of British subjects. The Test and Corporation Acts had been repealed, and the way to civic honours was thus opened to dissenters. A liberal ministry was at the head of the government. Ten bishoprics had been taken from the overgrown hierarchy of the Irish church. The Reform Bill had been carried, and a parliament was now convened, in which the spirit of reform was more active than was desired, even by the ministry themselves. Ecclesiastical abuses were denounced. The utility of bishops in the house of peers was questioned. A revision of the liturgy was suggested. The admission of dissenters into the national universities even passed the House of Commons; and searching inquiries, with a view to further reforms both in church and state, were proposed. All these things were considered ominous by a considerable