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Review of ‘Reconcilation between God and Man By W.J. Sparrow-Simpson’,
London: S.P.C.K. 1916,

The Journal of Theological Studies 19 (1917) 237,238


Reconcilation between God and Man.

By W.J. SPARROW-SIMSON, D.D. (S.P.C.K. 1916.)

This is a clear and succinct manual of a great subject by a theologian who knows his ground, and imparts his knowledge in a form which the non-theological reader can appreciate. Difficulties are frankly stated, and for the most part receive solutions as satisfactory as the nature of the subject and the space at the author's disposal permit. Popular errors are exposed; such, for example, as the insistence on a divine χρηστότης which leaves no place for the divine ἀποτομία; or the pressing of St John's τετέλεσται so far as to exclude the continuous propitiation which the same writer connects with the life of the ascended Christ.
A chapter is given to the consideration of objections advanced by recent Jewish writers against the Christian doctrine of mediation.

Dr Sparrow-Simpson discusses at some length the ‘principle of reparation’ implied in the Atonement. The reparation of the Cross consisted, he believes, in ‘a perfect sorrow for the sin of the world’; but he appears to avoid, wisely as it seems to me, the use of the words "penitence’ or ‘penitent’ in connexion with our Lord's sacrifice.

A few things in the book may provoke criticism; we may wish, for instance, that a treatise on Reconciliation between God and Man had not culminated in a section on the Eucharistic offering, as its ‘final theme’ — a position which surely belongs to the work of the High Priest in Heaven rather than to even the greatest of Sacraments. But the work as a whole is at once sane and devout, and will commend itself to Christian students of divergent schools.

Two apparent errors of the press may be pointed out: for ‘argue’ (p.3, line 8) should probably be read ‘agree’, and for ‘service’ (p.147, line 4) ‘session’.

William John Sparrow-Simpson

Was born: June 20, 1859, London, England. Sparrow-Simpson attended Trinity College at Cambridge, and became an Anglican deacon in 1882, and priest in 1883. In 1904, he appointed as chaplain in St. Mary’s Hospital, Great Ilford. In 1887 he made a libretto, The Crucifixion, by selecting texts form the New Testament interspersed with five hymns The music is by John Stainer: The Crucifixion is described as a ‘Meditation on the Passion of the Holy Redeemer’. It followed the example of later classical Passions in including a number of reflective hymns in which the audience or congregation join; the best-known of these today is the final hymn ‘All for Jesus’. The music owes much to Bach and Handel, but the strong influence of Mendelssohn, whose music was immensely popular among Victorian audiences, is apparent. ‘The Crucifixion’ is an example of the finest church music of the Victorian age; while it is not music of any great complexity, its tuneful simplicity expresses an unaffected religious devotion. The Guildford Cathedral Choir, directed by Barry Rose made an excellent recording of this oratorium in 1967, still, available on CD by EMI Classics (EMI CDCFP 4519).
He died: February 13, 1952, Great Ilford, Essex, England.

Among the writings of William John Sparrow-Simpson

  • editor of: Visitations of Churches Belonging to St. Paul's Cathedral in 1297 and in 1458, London: The Camden Society, 1895, 70pp, 130pp.
  • Lectures onS. Bernard of Clairvaux with appendix on the Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. J. Masters and Co., 1895, 257pp.,
  • Gleanings from Old S.Paul's, 1889
  • The Minor Festivals of the Anglican Calendar, London: Rivingtons, 1901 , xl, 470pp
  • Roman Catholic Opposition to Papal Infallibility London: John Murray, 1909, 1910
  • Reconcilation between God and Man, London: S.P.C.K. 1916.
  • The Revelation of God, and other sermons, London; S.P.C.K. 1925 120pp
  • "Roman Index of Prohibited Books." Quarterly Review, 247 (1926)1-15.
  • St. Augustine's Conversion An Outline of his Development to the Time of His Ordination, London: Macmillan 1930,
  • John Wesley and the Church of England, London: S.P.C.K. 1934, xii, 100pp.
  • Dispensations. A publication of the Literatue Assoc. of the Church Union London, S.P.C.K., 1935.
  • A Study of Bossuet, London, Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1937, 226pp.
  • The Redeemer, London: Longmans 1937. pp.20/226.
  • St. Augustine's Episcopate: a brief introduction to his writings as a Christian, London: S.P.C.K., 1944