Puslapio vaizdai


that where there could be no faith, there could also be no baptism. It is certain that Christ did not ordain infant baptism; he left indeed much, which was not needful for salvation, to the free developement of the Christian spirit, without here appointing binding laws. We cannot prove that the apostles ordained infant baptism; from those places where the baptism of a whole family is mentioned, as in Acts xvi. 33; 1 Cor. i. 16, we can draw no such conclusion, because the inquiry is still to be made, whether there were any children in these families of such an age, that they were not capable of any intelligent reception of Christianity, for this is the only point on which the case turns. From the deficiency of historical documents of the first half of this period, we must also avow that the want of any positive testimony to the custom cannot be brought as an argument against its antiquity. The first passage which appears expressly to point to this matter, is found in Irenæus. We shall consider the whole of this remarkable passage with some degree of accuracy. Irenæus is endeavouring to show, that Christ did not stop the progress of the developement of human nature, which was to be sanctified by him, but that he sanctified it, in all its successive stages, in conformity to its essential qualities in each: “He came to redeem all by himself; all I say, who are born again into God through him, infants, children, boys, youths, and the old. Therefore he passed through every age, and became an infant to infants, sanctifying infants; he became a child among children, to sanctify those of this age, giving them at the same time an example of piety, of justice, and obedience; and for young men he became a young man, to • set them an example, and to sanctify them to the Lord.It is here of consequence to remark particularly, that infants (infantes) are expressly distinguished from children (parvuli), to whom Christ can serve as an example, and that these infants are represented as being only capable of receiving an objective salvation from Christ, who appeared in an age and condition similar to theirs. This salvation is imparted to them in consideration of their being born again in reference to God, through Christ. In Irenæus the new birth and baptism are intimately connected, and it would be difficult for one to imagine any thing else than baptism as meant by the new birth, when used in reference to this age. Infant baptism also here appears the means by which the principle imparted through Christ to human nature from its very earliest developement, might be appropriated to the salvation of children. We find here the essentially Christian notion, from which infant baptism would derive itself spontaneously, the more Christianity penetrated into domestic

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

life; namely, that Christ, by means of that Divine life, which he communicated to human nature, and revealed in it, has sanctified that nature from the very first seed of its developement. If every thing was as it ought to be, the child born in a Christian family would have this advantage, that he did not first come to Christianity from heathenism, or from a natural life of sin, but that he would grow up, from the first dawning of conscience, under the imperceptible and preventing influence of a sanctifying and ennobling Christianity; with the very first seeds of consciousness in the natural life, a Divine principle, ennobling nature, would be near him, by which the diviner portion of his nature might be attracted and strengthened, before its ungodliness could come into full activity; and this latter evil spirit would here find itself overmatched by its counterpoise. In such a life the new birth would form no division, that began at any one particular moment, but it would begin imperceptibly, and so continue its progress through the whole life. Therefore the visible token of the new birth, that is, baptism, was to be given to the child from its earliest hours, and he was to be consecrated to his Saviour from the very first.'

pp. 359-361.

Neander closes his account of the controversy respecting the Baptism of Heretics by an illustration taken from real life.

*Dionysius of Alexandria relates a remarkable case, which touches on these points : There was a converted heretic in the Alexandrian Church, who for many years had lived as a member of the Church, and had taken part in the worship of God in the Church. Having attended the baptism of some of the catechumens, he remembered that the baptism which he had received in the sect (probably a Gnostic sect) from which he had been converted, was entirely unlike that which he then witnessed. Had he known that he, who has Christ in faith, has every thing which is needful for his advantage and his salvation, this would not have given him so much uneasiness. But as this was not clear to him, he doubted whether he could look upon himself as a real Christian, and he fell into a state of great anxiety and disquietude, because he thought that he was without true baptism, and without the grace of baptism. He fell down at the feet of the bishop in tears, and prayed him to give him baptism The bishop sought to tranquillize him, and told him that he could not now first be baptized afresh, after he had so long been a partaker in the body and blood of our Lord. He told him that his having lived so long in the communion of the Church



ought to satisfy him, and that he should come with a stedfast faith and a good conscience to the holy supper of the Lord. But the wretched man was unable to overcome his scruples and his unhappiness. Here was an instance of the unhappy effects of holding too fast by outward things, and of the mischief which arises when men know not how to raise themselves with proper freedom to the things of the Spirit, which the inward man embraces through faith.' - pp. 377, 378.


We have room for but one extract on the institution and early history of the Lord's Supper. After speaking of the gradual introduction of the idea of a sacrifice in the celebration of this ordinance, Neander observes,

"The usual sort of bread, which was brought by the members of the Church, was used for the Supper of the Lord. Justin Martyr calls it expressly, “common bread," (xouvos agros);

,(); those who went on the supposition that Christ celebrated the festival of the Passover a day earlier than usual, had no reason at all to use any thing but the common sort of bread in the celebration of the Lord's Supper; and even those who were of a different opinion, did not think the use of unleavened bread an essential part of the performance of this rite. We find, however, one exception in the case of some Judaizing Christians,* which arose from the very nature of the case; for as they kept a festival once a year at the Passover, in commemoration of that Last Supper of our Lord, it naturally happened that, as Christians who were continuing in the observance of the Jewish ceremonial law, they would eat unleavened bread. As, among the ancients, and especially in the East, it was not customary to drink pure wine, unmixed with water, at meal times, it was hence supposed that Christ also used wine mixed with water. The taste for higher and mysterious meanings, however, did not content itself with the simple, but apparently too trivial, explanation of this custom, which had become general. The mixture of the water and the wine, was to represent the union of the Church with Christ.

Originally, the general celebration of the Supper of the Lord, united with the celebration of the love-feast, was a mark of daily Christian communion. When these daily assemblies could no longer take place, the Supper of the Lord became an essential part of the Sunday worship, as it appears in Justin Martyr, and

** Epiphanius (Hæres. xxx. $ 16.) says of the Ebionites of his time, that they celebrated the Communion once a year with unleavened bread and water. (The latter was because their ascetic habits would not allow of the use of wine.)'

[ocr errors]

the whole congregation took part in the communion, as they had responded to the preceding prayer by their Amen. The deacons brought the bread and wine to each of the assembly in order. It was held necessary that all the Christians resident in the town should constantly continue in union with the Lord and with his Church, by partaking of this communion; and the deacons, therefore, carried a portion of the consecrated bread and wine to the strangers, the sick, or the prisoners, who were prevented from attending the congregation."— pp. 386, 387.

The work, from which these extracts are taken, as our readers will perceive, is one of no ordinary merit. Without feeling ourselves obliged or inclined to concur in all the author's statements, much less to adopt all his inferences and conclusions, we are impressed with, and it gives us pleasure to acknowledge, his profound learning, his patient and thorough investigations, and his deep and serious, though somewhat mystical, philosophy. This volume appeared in England last August, with an intimation in the Advertisement that the second, containing a history of the Christian doctrines and heresies, might be expected about the end of the year.

ART. VI. - The Bravo: a Tale. By the Author of "The

Spy,' "The Red Rover, The Water Witch,' &c. In 2
Vols. Philadelphia. Cary & Lea. 12mo.

[ocr errors]

We are not among Mr. Cooper's ardent admirers, but we are very willing to be among those who admit him to be a very powerful writer in the department of modern, commonsense fiction. He has taken good lessons from the illustrious founder of the modern school of novelists; but it is a great misfortune for his fame that he should be compared with Scott, or ever be called, as some of his admirers would have him, 'the Scott of America.' The grandeur of the title is too much for our countryman to bear off with credit to himself, and, we must charitably believe, is as distasteful to him, as it is to his best friends.

Mr. Cooper's forte lies in scenes and situations of a certain description; the whole walk of fiction,' the whole breadth of human feeling and action, is not opened to him. A boat


race, as in the novel before us; a battle; an Indian ambush or pursuit upon an Indian trail ; a prairie on fire ; a sea-fight, or a chase at sea ; any perilous and agitating situation, in fine, he describes powerfully. He interests us in hair-breadth 'scapes,' beyond any other writer. His genius stands in no need of supernatural terrors, for he is able to work up ordinary perils into very fearful and agitating exigences. must allow too, that he has a strong feeling of the beauty of nature. There are descriptions of Venice in his last work, which are exceedingly_graphic, and overspread with the richest haze of fancy. But in all the finer discriminations of life, manners, character, sensibility, and especially of female sensibility, he fails, almost as signally, as he succeeds in the more palpably exciting and stirring scenes of his novels. We know of no books more fitted to make up a volume of extracts, whether for the credit of the author, or the success of the publisher. We could not, indeed, call them elegant extracts,' the beauties of Cooper.' But we would call them the chefs-d'ouvre of Cooper,' and we are willing to say, by way of set-off to our general lukewarmness, that in our opinion there are not more than three or four novelists of the present age, whose writings could furnish passages of equal power.

We should not like to say, indicative of equal genius. There is expressed by that word, to our apprehension, a fulness of perfection a moral as well as intellectual grandeur, a beauty of mind, an instinctive sympathy with all that is beautiful, lovely, and glorious, a tenderness as well as intensity of feeling, à penetrating insight into the fairest forms and divinest proportions of things, a power, at once, to soar to the highest heaven of invention,' and to sound the profoundest depths of the human heart, a soul thrilling to all the grandest harmonies and slightest tones of nature and of life, which we cannot ascribe to Mr. Cooper. And we say this, not because we feel any ill-will to Mr. Cooper, but because, to our humble apprehension of the matter, this word, genius, and some others of kindred import, are lavished among us with a freedom that degrades them, and makes the prize of their high calling' altogether too low an object. That Dedication of Mr. Cooper's to his publisher, almost at the outset of his career, seemed to us, at the time, a bad augury, and we have not

[ocr errors]
« AnkstesnisTęsti »