Obrazy na stronie

and purified from the grossness and pollution of their ideas.

The first of these allegorisers, as we learn from Laertius, was Anaxagoras, who, with his friend Metrodorus, turned Homer's mythology into a system of ethics. Next came Hereclides Ponticus, and of the same fables made as good a system of physics; which, to show us with what kind of spirit it was composed, he entitled Antirresis ton kat autou [Homerou) blasphemesanton. And last of all, when the necessity became more pressing, Proclus undertook to show that all Homer's fables were no other than physical, ethical, and moral allegories. * *

[ocr errors]

DR Robert Lowth, second son of Dr William Lowth, was born at Buriton, in Hampshire, in 1710. He entered the church, and became successively bishop of St David's, Oxford, and London; he died in 1787. The works of Lowth display both genius and learning. They consist of Prelections on Hebrew Poetry, a Life of William of Wykeham, a Short Introduction to English Grammar, and a Translation of Isaiah. The last is the greatest of his productions. The spirit of eastern poetry is rendered with fidelity, elegance, and sublimity; and the work is an inestimable contribution to biblical criticism and learning, as well as to the exalted strains of the divine muse. DR ConyERs MIDDLEton, distinguished for his admirable Life of Cicero, mixed freely and eagerly in the religious controversies of the times. One writer, Dr Matthew Tindal, served as a firebrand to the clergy. Tindal had embraced popery in the reign of James II., but afterwards renounced it. Being thus, as Drummond the poet said of Ben Johnson, “of either religion, as versed in both,' he set himself to write on theology, and published The Rights of the Christian Church Asserted, and Christianity as Old as the Creation. The latter had a decided deistical tendency, and was answered by several divines, as Dr Conybeare, Dr Foster, and Dr Waterland. Middleton now joined in the argument, and wrote remarks on Dr Waterland's manner of vindicating Scripture against Tindal, which only increased the confusion by adding to the elements of discord. He also published A Free Inquiry into the Miraculous Powers of the Church, which was answered by several of the high church clergy. These treatises have now fallen into oblivion. They were perhaps useful in preventing religious truths from stagnating in that lukewarm age; but in adverting to them, we are reminded of the fine saying of Hall—“While Protestants attended more to the points on which they differed than those on which they agreed, while more zeal was employed in settling ceremonies and defending subtleties than in enforcing plain revealed truths, the lovely fruits of peace and charity perished under the storms of controversy.” A permanent service was rendered to the cause of Christianity by the writings of the REv. WILLIAM LAw (1686–1761), author of a still popular work, A Serious Call to a Holy Life, which, happening to fall into the hands of Dr Johnson at college, gave that eminent person “the first occasion of thinking in earnest of religion after he became capable of rational inquiry.' Law was a Jacobite nonconformist: he was tutor to the father of Gibbon the historian. The two elementary works of DR Is AAc WAtts— his Logic, or the Right Use of Reason, published in 1724, and his Improvement of the Mind (a supplement

to the former), were both designed to advance the interests of religion, and are well adapted to the purpose. Various theological treatises were also written by Watts. | DR RICHARD HURD (1720–1808), a friend and disciple of Warburton, was author of an Introduction to the Study of the Prophecies, being the substance of twelve discourses delivered at. Cambridge. Hurd was a man of taste and learning, author of a commentary on Horace, and editor of Cowley's works. He rose to enjoy high church preferment, and died bishop of Worcester, after having declined the archiepiscopal see of Canterbury. DR GEoRGE HoRNE (1730-1792) was another divine whose talents and learning raised him to the bench of bishops. He wrote various works, the most important of which is a Commentary on the Book of Psalms, which appeared in 1776 in two volumes quarto. It is still a text-book with theological students and divines, and unites extensive erudition with fervent piety. DR John JortIN (1698-1770), a prebendary of St Paul's and archdeacon of London, was an eminent scholar, and an independent theologian. He wrote various dissertations, Remarks on Ecclesiastical History, a Life of Erasmus, &c. The freedom of some of his strictures gave offence to the high church clergy. Of a similar character, but less orthodox in his tenets, was Dr John Jebb, who obtained considerable preferment in the church, which he resigned on imbibing Socinian opinions. On quitting the church, Jebb studied and practised as a physician: he died in 1786, aged fifty. His works on theology and other subjects form three volumes. Of the other theological and devotional productions of the established clergy of this age, there is only room to notice a few of the best. The dissertations of Bishop Newton on various parts of the Bible; the Lectures on the English Church Catechism, by Archbishop Secker; Bishop Law's Considerations on the Theory of Religion, and his Reflections on the Life and Character of Christ, are all works of standard excellence. The labours of Dr Kennicot, in the collection of various manuscripts of the Hebrew Bible, are also worthy of being here mentioned as an eminent service to sacred literature.

GEORGE Whitefield–John Wesley.

Connected with the English establishment, yet ultimately separating from it, were those two remarkable men, Whitefield and Wesley. Both were highly useful in their day and generation, and they enjoyed a popularity rarely attained by divines. GEorge WHITEFIELD was born in Gloucester in 1714. He took orders, and preached in London with astonishing success. He made several voyages to America, where he was equally popular. Whitefield adopted the Calvinistic doctrines, and preached them with incessant activity, and an eloquence unparalleled in its effects. As a popular orator he was passionate and vehement, wielding his audiences almost at will, and so fascinating in his style and manner, that Hume the historian said he was worth travelling twenty miles to hear. He died in Newbury, New England, in 1770. His writings are tame and commonplace, and his admirers regretted that he should have injured his fame by resorting to publication.

John WEsley was more learned, and in all respects better fitted to become the leader and founder of a sect. His father was rector of Epworth, in Lincolnshire, where John was born in 1703. He was educated at Oxford, where he and his brother Charles, and a few other students, lived in a regular system of


pious study and discipline, whence they were deno

minated Methodists. After officiating a short time as curate to his father, the young enthusiast set off as a missionary to Georgia, where he remained about two years. Shortly after his return in 1738, he commenced field-preaching, occasionally travelling through every part of Great Britain and Ireland, where he established congregations of Methodists. | Thousands flocked to his standard. The grand doctrine of Wesley was universal redemption, as contradistinguished from the Calvinistic doctrine of particular redemption, and his proselytes were, by the act of conversion, made regenerate men. The Methodists also received lay converts as preachers, who, by their itinerant ministrations and unquenchable enthusiasm, contributed materially to the extension of their societies. Wesley continued writing, preaching, and travelling, till he was eightyeight years of age; his apostolic earnestness and venerable appearance procured for him everywhere profound respect. He had preached about forty thousand sermons, and travelled three hundred thousand miles. His highly useful and laborious career was terminated on the 2d of March 1791. His body lay in a kind of state in his chapel at London the day previous to his interment, dressed in his clerical habit, with gown, cassock, and band; the old clerical cap on his head, a Bible in one hand, and a white handkerchief in the other. The funeral service was read by one of his old preachers. “When he came to that part of the service, “forasmuch as it hath pleased God to take unto himself the soul of our dear brother,” his voice changed, and he substituted the word father; and the feeling with which he did this was such, that the congregation, who were shedding silent tears, burst at once into loud weeping.'” At the time of Wesley's death, the number of Methodists in Europe, America, and the West India islands, was 80,000: they are now above a million—three hundred thousand of which are in Great Britain and Ireland. The writings and journals of Wesley are very voluminous, but he cannot be said to have produced any one valuable work in divinity or general literature.


The English dissenters now began to evince their regard for learning and their ardour in study. DR NATHANIEL LARDNER (1684-1768) produced some treatises of the highest importance to the theological student. His works fill eleven octavo volumes. The chief is his Credibility of the Gospel History, published between 1730 and 1757, in fifteen volumes, and in which proofs are brought from innumerable sources in the religious history and literature of the first five centuries in favour of the truth of Christianity. Another voluminous work, entitled A Large Collection of Ancient Jewish and Heathen Testimonies to the Truth of the Christian Religion, appeared near the close of the author's life, and completed a design, which, making allowance for the interruptions occasioned by other studies and writings of less importance, occupied his attention for forty-three years. Hugh FARMER (1714-1787), a pupil of Dr Doddridge, was author of several religious treatises, the | most important of which is his Dissertation on Miracles, a work of close reasoning and profound |, thought. This dissertation was published in 1771, | and still maintains its place as one of the bulwarks | of revealed religion. DR JAMEs Fosteh (1697-1752) is worthy of no

| * Southey's Life of Wesley.

tice among the dissenting divines, as having obtained the poetical praise of Pope. He was originally an Independent, but afterwards joined the Baptists, and was one of the most popular preachers in London. He wrote Tracts on Heresy, Discourses on Natural Religion and Social Virtue, and other theological works. John LELAND (1691-1766) was pastor of a congregation of Protestant dissenters in Dublin. He wrote A View of the Deistical Writers in England, and an elaborate work on the Advantage and Necessity of the Christian Revelation. The former is a solid and valuable treatise, and is still regarded as one of the best confutations of infidelity.

Drt Hugh BLAIR.

The Scottish church at this time also contained some able and accomplished divines. The equality of livings in the northern establishment, and the greater amount of pastoral labour devolved upon its ministers, are unfavourable for studious research or profound erudition. The Edinburgh clergy, however, are generally men of talents and attainments, and the universities occasionally receive some of the best divines as professors. One of the most popular and influential of the Scottish clergy was DR HUGH BLAIR, born in Edinburgh in 1718. He was at first minister of a country church in Fifeshire, but, being celebrated for his pulpit eloquence, he was successively preferred to the Canongate, Lady Yester's, and the High Church in Edinburgh. In 1759 he commenced a course of lectures on rhetoric and belles lettres, which extended his literary reputation; and in 1763 he published his Dissertation on the Poems of Ossian, a production evincing both critical taste and learning. In 1777 appeared the first volume of his Sermons, which was so well received that the author published three other volumes, and a fifth which he had prepared, was printed after his death. A royal pension of £200 per annum further rewarded its author. Blair next published his Rhetorical Lectures, and they also met with a favourable reception. Though somewhat hard and dry in style and manner, this work forms a useful guide to the young student: it is carefully arranged, contains abundance of examples in every department of literary composition, and has also detailed criticisms on ancient and modern authors. The sermons, however, are the most valuable of Blair's works. They are written with taste and elegance, and by inculcating Christian morality without any allusion to controversial topics, are suited to all classes of Christians. Profound thought, or reasoning, or impassioned eloquence, they certainly do not possess, and in this respect they must be considered inferior to the posthumous sermons of Logan the poet, which, if occasionally irregular, or faulty in style, have more of devotional ardour and vivid description. In society Dr Blair was cheerful and polite, the friend of literature as well as of virtue. His predominant weakness seems to have been vanity, which was soon discovered by Burns, in his memorable residence in Edinburgh in 1787. Blair died on the 27th of December 1800.

[On the Cultivation of Taste.] [From “Blair's Lectures."]

Such studies have this peculiar advantage, that they

exercise our reason without fatiguing it. They lead

to inquiries acute, but not painful; profound, but not

dry or abstruse, They strew flowers in the path of

science, and while they keep the mind bent in some

degree and active, they relieve it at the same time which more or

from that more toilsome labour to which it must submit in the acquisition of necessary erudition or the investigation of abstract truth. The cultivation of taste is further recommended by the happy effects which it naturally tends to produce on human life. The most busy man in the most active sphere cannot be always occupied by business. Men of serious professions cannot always be on the stretch of serious thought. Neither can the most gay and flourishing situations of fortune afford any man the power of filling all his hours with pleasure. Life must always languish in the hands of the idle. It will frequently languish even in the hands of the busy, if they have not some employment subsidiary to that which forms their main pursuit. How then shall these vacant spaces, those o intervals, ess occur in the life of every one, be filled up? How can we contrive to dispose of them in any way that shall be more agreeable in itself, or more consonant to the dignity of the human mind, than in the entertainments of taste, and the study of polite literature? He who is so happy as to have acquired a relish for these, has always at hand an innocent and irreproachable amusement for his leisure hours, to save him from the danger of many a pernicious passion. He is not in hazard of being a burden to himself. He is not obliged to fly to low company, or to court the riot of loose pleasures, in order to cure the tediousness of existence. Providence seems plainly to have pointed out this useful purpose to which the pleasures of taste may be applied, by interposing them in a middle station between the pleasures of sense and those of pure intellect. We were not designed to grovel always among objects so low as the former; nor are we capable of dwelling constantly in so high a region as the latter. The pleasures of taste refresh the mind after the toils of the intellect and the labours of abstract study; and they gradually raise it above the attachments of sense, and prepare it for the enjoyments of virtue. So consonant is this to experience, that, in the edu

| cation of youth, no object has in every age appeared

more important to wise men than to tincture them early with a relish for the entertainments of taste. The transition is commonly made with ease from these to the discharge of the higher and more important duties of life, Good hopes may be entertained of those whose minds have this liberal and elegant turn. It is favourable to many virtues. Whereas, to be entirely devoid of relish for eloquence, poetry, or any of the fine arts, is justly construed to be an unpromising symptom of youth; and raises suspicions of their being prone to low gratifications, or destined to drudge in the more vulgar and illiberal pursuits of life. There are indeed few good dispositions of any kind with which the improvement of taste is not more or less connected. A cultivated taste increases sensibility to all the tender and humane passions, by giving them frequent exercise; while it tends to weaken the more violent and fierce emotions.

Ingenuas didicisse fideliter artes Emollit mores, nec sinit esse feros.”

The elevated sentiments and high examples which poetry, eloquence, and history are often bringing under our view, naturally tend to nourish in our minds ublic spirit, the love of glory, contempt of external ortune, and the admiration of what is truly illustrious and great. I will not go so far as to say that the improvement of taste and of virtue is the same, or that they may

* These polished arts have humanised mankind, Softened the rude, and calmed the boisterous mind.

always be expected to coexist in an equal degree. More o than taste can apply are necessary for reforming the corrupt propensities which too frequently prevail among mankind. Elegant speculations are sometimes found to float on the surface of the mind, while bad passions possess the interior regions of the heart. At the same time this cannot but be admitted, that the exercise of taste is, in its native tendency, moral and purifying. From reading the most admired productions of genius, whether in poetry or prose, almost every one rises with some good impressions left on his mind; and though these may not always be durable, they are at least to be ranked among the means of disposing the heart to virtue. One thing is certain, that without possessing the virtuous affections in a strong degree, no man can attain eminence in the sublime parts of eloquence. He must feel what a good man feels, if he expects greatly to move or to interest mankind. They are the ardent sentiments of honour, virtue, magnanimity, and public spirit, that only can kindle that fire of genius, and call up into the mind those high ideas, which attract the admiration of ages; and if this spirit be necessary to produce the most distinguished efforts of eloquence, it must be necessary also to our relishing them with proper taste and feeling.

[Difference between Taste and Genius.]

[From the same.]

Taste and genius are two words frequently joined together, and therefore, by inaccurate thinkers, confounded. They signify, however, two quite different things. The difference between them can be clearly


pointed out, and it is of importance to remember it.

Taste consists in the power of judging; genius in the power of executing. One may have a considerable degree of taste in poetry, eloquence, or any of the fine arts, who has little or hardly any genius for composition or execution in any of these arts; but genius cannot be found without including taste also. Genius, therefore, deserves to be considered as a higher power of the mind than taste. Genius always imports something inventive or creative, which does not rest in mere sensibility to beauty where it is perceived, but which can, moreover, produce new beauties, and exhibit them in such a manner as strongly to impress the minds of others. . Refined taste forms a good critic; but genius is further necessary to form the poet or the orator. It is proper also to observe, that genius is a word which, in common acceptation, extends much further than to the objects of taste. It is used to signify that talent or aptitude which we receive from nature for excelling in any one thing whatever. Thus, we speak of a genius for mathematics, as well as a genius for poetry—of a genius for war, for politics, or for any mechanical employment. This talent or aptitude for excelling in some one particularis, I have said, what we receive from nature. By art and study, no doubt, it may be greatly improved, but by them alone it cannot be acquired. As genius is a higher faculty than taste, it is ever, according to the usual frugality of nature, more limited in the sphere of its operations. It is not uncommon to meet with persons who have an excellent taste in several of the polite arts, such as music, poetry, painting, and eloquence, all together; but to find one who is an excellent performer in all these arts, is much more rare, or rather, indeed, such a one is not to be looked for. A sort of universal genius, or one who is equally and indifferently turned towards several different professions and arts, is not likely to excel in any; o there may be some few exceptions, yet in general it holds, that when the bent of the mind is

and you presently render it sublime.

of sound. roaring of winds, the shouting of multitudes, the

wholly directed towards some one object, exclusive in a manner of others, there is the fairest prospect of eminence in that, whatever it be. The rays must converge to a point, in order to glow intensely.

[On Sublimity.] [From the same.]

It is not easy to describe in words the precise impression which great and sublime objects make upon us when we behold them; but every one has a conception of it. It produces a sort of internal elevation and expansion; it raises the mind much above its ordinary state, and fills it with a degree of wonder and astonishment which it cannot well express. The emotion is certainly delightful, but it is altogether of the serious kind; a degree of awfulness and solemnity, even approaching to severity, commonly attends it when at its height, very distinguishable from the more gay and brisk emotion raised by beautiful objects.

The simplest form of external grandeur appears in the vast and boundless prospects presented to us by nature; such as wide extended plains, to which the eye can see no limits, the firmament of heaven, or the boundless expanse of the ocean. All vastness produces the impression of sublimity. It is to be remarked, however, that space, extended in length, makes not so strong an impression as height or depth. Though a boundless plain be a grand object, yet a high mountain, to which we look up, or an awful precipice or tower, whence we look down on the objects which lie below, is still more so. The excessive grandeur of the firmament arises from its height, joined to its boundless extent; and that of the ocean not from

its extent alone, but from the perpetual motion and

irresistible force of that mass of waters. Wherever space is concerned, it is clear that amplitude or greatness of extent in one dimension or other is necessary to grandeur. Remove all bounds from any object, Hence infinite space, endless numbers, and eternal duration, fill the mind with great ideas. From this some have imagined that vastness or amplitude of extent is the foundation of all sublimity. But I cannot be of this opinion, because

many objects appear sublime which have no relation

to space at all. Such, for instance, is great loudness The burst of thunder or of cannon, the

sound of vast cataracts of water, are all incontestably grand objects. “I heard the voice of a great multi

tude, as the sound of many waters, and of mighty

thunderings, saying, Hallelujah.” In general, we may observe that great power and force exerted always raise sublime ideas ; and perhaps the most copious source of these is derived from this quarter. Hence the grandeur of earthquakes and burning mountains; of great conflagrations; of the stormy ocean and overflowing waters; of tempests of wind; of thunder and lightning; and of all the uncommon violence of the elements: nothing is more sublime than mighty wer and strength. A stream that runs within its ranks is a beautiful object, but when it rushes down with the impetuosity and noise of a torrent, it presently becomes a sublime one. From lions, and other animals of strength, are drawn sublime comparisons in poets. A race-horse is looked upon with pleasure; but it is the war-horse, “whose neck is clothed with thunder,’ that carries grandeur in its idea. The engagement of two great armies, as it is the highest exertion of human might, combines a variety of sources of the sublime, and has accordingly been

[blocks in formation]

| tion

For the further illustration of this subject, it is proper to remark, that all ideas of the solemn and awful kind, and even bordering on the terrible, tend greatly to assist the sublime; such as darkness, solitude, and silence. What are the scenes of nature that elevate the mind in the highest degree, and produce the sublime sensation Not the gay landscape, the flowery field, or the flourishing city; but the hoary mountains, and the solitary lake, the aged forest, and the torrent falling over the rock. Hence, too, night scenes are commonly the most sublime. The firmament, when filled with stars, scattered in such vast numbers, and with such magnificent profusion, strikes the imagination with a more .." grandeur than when we view it enlightened with all the splendour of the sun. The deep sound of a great bell, or the striking of a great clock, are at any time grand, but, when heard amid the silence and stillness of the night, they become doubly so. Darkness, is very commonly applied for adding sublimity to all our ideas of the Deity: “He maketh darkness his pavilion, he dwelleth in the thick cloud.” So Milton :

[blocks in formation]

we see that almost all the descriptions given us of the

appearances of supernatural beings, carry some sublimity, though the conceptions which they afford us be confused and indistinct. Their sublimity arises from the ideas, which they always convey, of superior power and might, joined with an awful obscurity. We may see this fully exemplified in the following noble passage of the book of Job:-‘In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, fear came upon me and trembling, which made all my bones to shake. Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up: it stood still ; but I could not discern the form thereof; an image was before mine eyes; there was silence; and I heard a voice—Shall mortal man be more just than God!’ (Job iv. 15.) . No ideas, it is plain, are so sublime as those taken from the Supreme Being, the most unknown, but the greatest of all objects; the infinity

of whose nature, and the eternity of whose duration, joined with the omnipotence of his power, though they surpass our conceptions, yet exalt them to the highest. In general, all objects that are greatly raised above us, or far removed from us, either in space or in time, are apt to strike us as great. Our viewing them as through the mist of distance or antiquity is favourable to the impressions of their sublimity. | As obscurity, so disorder too is very compatible with grandeur; nay, frequently heightens it. Few things that are strictly regular and methodical appear sublime. We see the limits on every side; we feel ourselves confined ; there is no room for the mind's exerting any great effort. Exact proportion of parts, though it enters often into the beautiful, is much disregarded in the sublime. A great mass of rocks, thrown together by the hand of nature with wildness and confusion, strike the mind with more deur than if they had been adjusted to one another with the most accurate symmetry. In the feeble attempts which human art can make towards producing grand objects (feeble, I mean, in comparison with the powers of nature), greatness of dimensions always constitutes a principal part. No pile of buildings can convey any idea of sublimity, unless it be ample and lofty. There is, too, in architecture, what is called greatness of manner, which seems chiefly to arise from presenting the object to us in one full point of view, so that it shall make its impression whole, entire, and undivided upon the mind. A Gothic cathedral raises ideas of grandeur in our minds by its size, its height, its awful obscurity, its strength, its antiquity, and its durability. There still remains to be mentioned one class of sublime objects, which may be called the moral or sentimental sublime, arising from certain exertions of the human mind, from certain affections and actions of our fellow-creatures. These will be found to be all, or chiefly of that class, which comes under the name of magnanimity or heroism; and they produce an effect extremely similar to what is produced by the view of grand objects in nature; filling the mind with admiration, and elevating it above itself. Wherever, in some critical and high situation, we behold a man uncommonly intrepid, and resting upon himself, supe

rior to passion and to fear; animated by some great principle to the contempt of popular opinion, of selfish interest, of dangers, or of death, there we are struck with a sense of the sublime. High virtue is the most natural and fertile source of this moral sublimity. However, on some occasions, where virtue either has no place, or is but imperfectly displayed, yet if extraordinary vigour and force of mind be discovered, we are not insensible to a degree of grandeur in the character; and from the splendid conqueror, or the daring conspirator, whom we are far from approving, we cannot withhold our admiration.


DR GEoRGE CAMPBELL, professor of divinity and afterwards principal of Marischal college, Aberdeen, was a theologian and critic of more vigorous intellect and various learning than Dr Blair. His Dissertation on Miracles, written in reply to Hume, is a conclusive and masterly piece of reasoning; and his Philosophy of Rhetoric (published in 1776) is perhaps the best book of the kind since Aristotle. Most of the other works on this subject are little else but compilations, but Campbell brought to it a high degree of philosophical acumen and learned research. Its utility is also equal to its depth and originality: the philosopher finds in it exercise for his ingenuity, and the student may safely consult it for its practical suggestions and illustrations. Dr Campbell's other

works are, a Translation of the Four Gospels, worthy of his talents, some sermons preached on public occasions, and a series of Lectures on Ecclesiastical History, which were not published till after his death. It is worthy of remark that Hume himself admitted the ‘ingenuity’ of Campbell's reply to his sceptical opinions, and the “great learning' of the author. The well-known hypothesis of Hume is, that no testimony for any kind of miracle can ever amount to a probability, much less to a proof. To this Dr Campbell opposed the argument that testimony has a natural and original influence on belief, antecedent to experience, in illustration of which he remarked, that the earliest assent which is given to testimony by children, and which is previous to all experience, is in fact the most unlimited. His answer is divided into two parts; first, that miracles are capable of proof from testimony, and religious miracles not less than others; and, secondly, that the miracles on which the belief of Christianity is founded, are sufficiently attested. Campbell had no fear for the result of such discussions:—‘I do not hesitate to affirm, he says, “that our religion has been indebted to the attempts, though not to the intentions, of its bitterest enemies. They have tried its strength, indeed, and, by trying, they have displayed its strength; and that in so clear a light, as we could never have hoped, without such a trial, to have viewed it in. Let them, therefore, write; let them argue, and, when arguments fail, even let them cavil against religion as much as they please; I should be heartily sorry that ever in this island, the asylum of liberty, where the spirit of Christianity is better understood (however defective the inhabitants are in the observance of its precepts) than in any other part of the Christian world; I should, I say, be sorry that in this island so great a disservice were done to religion as to check its adversaries in any other way than by returning a candid answer to their objections. I must at the same time acknowledge, that I am both ashamed and grieved when I observe any friends of religion betray so great a diffidence in the goodness of their cause (for

to this diffidence alone can it be imputed), as to show ,

an inclination for recurring to more forcible methods. The assaults of infidels, I may venture to prophecy, will never overturn our religion. They will prove not more hurtful to the Christian system, if it be allowed to compare small things with the greatest, than the boisterous winds are said to prove to the sturdy oak. They shake it impetuously for a time, and loudly threaten its subversion; whilst, in effect, they only serve to make it strike its roots the deeper, and stand the firmer ever after.’ In the same manly spirit, and reliance on the ultimate triumph of truth, Dr'Campbell was opposed to the penal laws against the Catholics; and in 1779, when the country was agitated with that intolerant zeal against Popery, which in the following year burst out in riots in London, he issued an Address to the People of Scotland, remarkable for its cogency of argument and its just and enlightened sentiments. For this service to true religion and toleration the mob of Aberdeen broke the author's windows, and nicknamed him “Pope Campbell.” In 1795, when far advanced in life, Dr Campbell received a pension of £300 from the Crown, on which he resigned his professorship, and his situation as principal of Marischal college. He enjoyed this well-earned reward only one year, dying in 1796, in his seventyseventh year. With the single exception of Dr

Robertson the historian (who shone in a totally different walk), the name of Dr Campbell is the

greatest which the Scottish church can number among its clergy.

« PoprzedniaDalej »