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Discourses and Addresses on Leading Truths of Religion and Philosophy. By the Rev. James H. Rigg, D.D., Author of Modern Anglican Theology, etc. London: Published for the Author at the Wesleyan Conference Office.-We are glad that Dr. Rigg has gathered together the 'Discourses and Addresses' that form this goodly volume. They are all worthy of permanent preservation; and pamphlets, however valuable, are only too apt to be destroyed or mislaid. The book is divided into four sections. The first consists of the author's two lectures for the Christian Evidence Society, and his 'Annual Address of the Victoria Institute for 1878.' These masterly Addresses have been already noticed in our columns. The demonstration that belief in God is a necessity of true philosophy and true science, the exposure of the inconsistencies of Pantheism, the proof that it is 'but veiled atheism,' and the encouraging survey of the Position of Christianity in England are not likely soon to lose their worth. They could have come only from a man of clear thought and high and wide culture, familiar with the history of philosophy and competent to grapple with its more subtle problems. Except the last two, all the sermons were Presidential deliverances, and befit the office and the officer, than which it would be difficult to give higher praise. The sixth sermon is based on that much-disputed passage,
Hebrews xii, 22-24. Whether or not the reader accept Dr. Rigg's exegesis-and on the whole we incline to regard it as the most satisfactory-he will acknowledge the expository skill and careful study of the text the discourse displays. The last sermon was preached in connection with the death of the Rev. G. T. Perks. Apart from the mournful interest that attaches to it, it is valuable for the light it throws upon the history of Timothy. The third section of the book consists of five Scenes and Studies from the Earlier Ministry of our Lord. Minute and reverent scrutiny of the sacred narrative has enabled Dr. Rigg not merely to make that narrative clearer to us, but to draw from it important evidence as to the authorship of the Fourth Gospel. The three Educational Addresses which conclude the volume display the ability, grasp and acquaintance with the subject which we should expect from the Principal of Westminster College, and the author of a comprehensive work on National ation.
Cx-President has done well in en
riching Methodist literature with this memorial of his Presidency.
The Innocents. A Poem in Three Books. By the Rev. Samuel Wray. London: Hodder and Stoughton.-This volume is unique. It is the work of a true poet, of a singer who has not mere facility of rhyming and of poetic expression, but the genuine gift with which, according to the proverb, the poet must be born. Book First' (we quote from the preface) Rachel Weeping, relates to the death of infants, "from two years old and under "; Book Second-the Nursery, to the Christian dedication and training of the young; Book Third-The Vacant Crib, to the love of children who have left the cradle and survived to be regarded not only with a more robust affection, but also with hopes more fully developed and more confidently cherished.'
Possibly because we come upon it first, the first Book impresses us most powerfully with its poetic power. Every topic of consolation that could be addressed to the bereaved Christian parent is presented in its most touching or most striking form. There are stanzas and couplets, and, indeed, entire poems, which the highest poetic genius might be glad to own. The second
Book is mainly didactic; and, though unmistakably from the true fount, hardly rises to so high a level as the first. Some of its terse antitheses and unexpected turns of thought might rank with Charles Wesley's in his polemical hymns.
Mr. Wray is evidently a firm adherent to those views of Christian nurture which Dr. Bushnell has elaborated in his work on that subject, and which the Rev. Samuel Jackson-to whose memory Mr. Wray dedicates his book-enforced with so much earnestness upon the Methodist Connexion. On this matter we are in hearty agreement with him. Some of his verses seem to favour the Doctrine of Baptismal Regeneration, but he quite clears himself of all complicity with that dogma. Indeed, the common carelessness about the Sacrament of Baptism has perhaps led Mr. Wray to insist a little too strongly upon its actual effect upon the infant: no more need be said. In the third Book his muse recovers her former power, and we have poems which must live in the memory of all who read them.
Mr. Wray has studied assiduously the productions of other poets who have chosen the same theme as himself, but he has not thereby spoiled his originality; while we have delicious reminiscences of Faber,
Hood, Keble, Moir, Mrs. Browning and Milton. It is far superior, both poetically and theologically, to Lyra Innocentium, of which it naturally reminds us.
The Innocents is a work which bereaved parents will not willingly let die; and which many, who have not so sorrowed, will read for its genius and force and beauty.
The Old Testament a Living Book for All Ages. By Austin Phelps, D.D., Author of The Still Hour, etc. London: Hodder and Stoughton.-A very healthy and interesting series of discourses, by far the finest being that on The Intertwining of God's Plans with the Plans of Men, which contains some profound and touching passages. The rest might very properly have been headed like that on Josiah: A Talk,' the tone being that of animated conversation. Once, at least, Dr. Phelps unhappily shocks most pain
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH BY HIS SON, THE REV. S. JAMES, My father was born at Banns, near Mount Hawk, in the parish of St. Agnes, Cornwall, October 16th, 1807. His father was a well-to-do farmer, and a follower of Mr. Wesley, and his mother was especially observed for her piety.
A few notes from his diary in reference to his experience may not be out of place. He says: In March, 1824, the Lord was pleased to revive His work, when He gave me to see that I was a sinner as I never saw myself before, and unless I was pardoned and born again, I could never enter the kingdom of heaven. The Spirit 80 wrought upon me that I was induced to call aloud for mercy; nor did I call in vain, for in a few days God spoke peace to my troubled soul and I went on my way rejoicing.'
After about two years he became discouraged, and neglected his Class and other Christian duties. We will give his own language on this subject: I believe a more unhappy person than I could not be found out of hell. Often I went to the week-night Prayer-meetings, but found no rest. I well remember the first night I retired without prayer, and the reproof I received from an unconverted brotherhow it cut me to the heart! In the year 1827, I returned to my Class, and was received very kindly by both Leader and members, but it was not until eleven months after that the witness again was mine.'
It seems there was a very hard struggle before the victory was gained. He says: 'On Sabbath afternoon, December 20th of
fully one's sense of reverence; and there is often a jauntiness about his style which is quite out of keeping with his subjects. He seems, too, to have a hypothesis leaning towards that of Mr. Rouse on hereditary holiness.
The Christian Sabbath. The Substance of an Address delivered at a Public Meeting in furtherance of the Lord's-Day Observance Society, on Tuesday evening, March 9th, 1880, in the Association Hall, Peter Street, Manchester. London: Wesleyan Conference Office. A short but comprehensive tract on the Sabbath has long been needed, and we trust that this issue of Dr. Pope's speech at Manchester will be widely circulated, not only amongst the less intelligent classes, but also amongst the educated and well-to-do. Dr. Pope's moderation is no less valuable than his firmness in dealing with such a question.
OF MR. SILAS JAMES: OF N.B. AND P.E.I. CONFERENCE. the same year, my mind was greatly troubled, the prospect being very dull, for pardon seemed a great way off; I almost despaired of mercy. I took my Bible to my room, and prayed to the Lord for pardon for my backslidings. After reading a chapter or two upon my knees, I prayed God to show me a passage of Scripture which would give me hope for pardon. I then turned to Acts viii. 22, and read: "Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee." I prayed for this forgiveness with all my heart, and afterwards I read a part of the thirty-seventh verse: "If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest." Soon after I read these words God spoke peace to my troubled soul, and I could say with the Psalmist: "Come and hear, all ye that fear God, and I will declare what He hath done for my soul."'
He says: 'I found I had to contend with many enemies; but I laboured to keep my confidence, knowing that neither men nor devils could rob me of it, providing I did my duty in the fear of God.' From this time he gave himself to reading the Word of God and other useful books, which he made his thoughtful and earnest study. In 1828, the subject of this Sketch was constituted a Prayer Leader and Exhorter. In 1829, we find him still striving to serve God, and, as far as possible, exercising his gifts in addressing larger congregations. In 1830, he was called by God and the Church to the most important work of
preaching the Gospel; but one thing stood in his way he had from a child been subject to severe fits, and could not be trusted on long journeys on horseback. A great deal of money had been spent in search of medical aid for him, but all in vain. But from the time of preaching his first sermon to his death, he never had another fit. It was not without a great struggle against flesh and blood that he could be persuaded to enter upon this responsible office; but, having once begun, he continued to the end of his life-a period of nearly fifty years. His sermons were always clear and practical, and delivered with a good deal of fervour. About the close of the same year, he was appointed Leader of a Class, which he considered a greater task than preaching. From this position he sought deliverance, but without success. His Class soon became too large, and had to be converted into two, which were both placed under his care. Notwithstanding all his preaching and Prayer-meetings, he was never, from this date until his decease, without one or more Classes. As a Class Leader he was highly respected and loved by all under his charge.
Many were the trials and temptations he endured during this part of his life, but he was determined to serve God. To obtain quiet apart from the family, he built a small house for a study and Class-room, which he found a great comfort to his own soul.
In 1837, he was united in marriage to one in every way worthy of his love; and the Lord blessed them with seven sons, nearly all of whom are members of the Methodist Church. As a husband, he was kind and loving; as a father, he was affectionate but strict. It was his great delight to make his family and friends happy. He was very even in his temper, and was never known to get into a passion, whatever
happened. He always set great value upon family worship. It was his custom to bring his household twice a day to the family altar, the influence of which can never be forgotten. He had a great respect for the Christian Sabbath.
In 1854, he left the St. Agnes' Circuit, and resided the remainder of his life in the Redruth Circuit, where he was in labours abundant. He was taken ill in May, and lingered until the 23rd of October, 1877. A week or two before he died the enemy seemed to tempt him greatly, but by-andby the clouds dispersed and he was enabled to praise the God of his salvation. One day as his friends were gathered around his bed, he called them by name, one by one, and asked if they would meet him in heaven; and each, with streaming eyes, answered: 'I will, by God's grace'; and he added: O what a joyful meeting there!'
The day before he died, he was very happy, and his face shone, and he said: 'The angels are waiting, the angels are waiting! And although he had not taken any food for thirteen days, he, with a loud, clear voice, said: 'I am coming, I am coming!' The next morning he gently passed away, aged seventy years.
The Rev. Thomas Angwin, of the Nova Scotia Conference, writing to The Provincial Wesleyan, says: Brother James was a respected, beloved and useful Local Preacher for nearly fifty years. I knew him in his youth, heard some of his first efforts in preaching, corresponded with him after my appointment to the Missionwork, had pleasant intercourse with him on my two visits to my native land, and am not surprised to find that he died shouting, "Glory to God!" He was a good man, and came from a noble Methodist ancestry.'
I am indebted to the Rev. Mr. Gilbert, of Redruth, Cornwall, for some of the matter in the foregoing Sketch.
MR. MICHAEL LILL, of Sloothby, in the Alford Circuit, was called home March 17th, 1876. He had been a member of Society for many years. Through his instrumentality chiefly is due the beautiful chapel there, to which he was a large contributor; and he never rested until he saw it out of debt. That he might still in this way assist and support the cause of Methodism when he should have passed away, he left several hundreds of pounds to be invested for the Circuit Funds. Mr. Lill's last affliction was painful and protracted, and he was
HAZELL, WApson, and vinEY, PRINTERS, LONDON AND AYLESBURY,