Obrazy na stronie
PDF

illustrated by Cowper in one of his letters.

tion and in action, and yet they were splendidly gifted with energy. They carried captive at once the sym: pathies and the understanding of the audience, and made every man feel his faculties expanding, and his whole mind becoming greater under the influence of

their power. Other performers, again, are remarkable

for agility of action and elocution, who, nevertheless, are felt to be feeble and ineffective in rousing an audience to emotion. Vivacity is their distinguishing attribute, with an absence of vigour. At the bar, in the pulpit, and in the senate, the same distinction prevails. Many members of the learned professions display great fluency of elocution and felicity of illustration, surprising us with the quickness of their parts, who, nevertheless, are felt to be neither, impressive nor profound. They exhibit acuteness without depth, and ingenuity without comprehensiveness of understanding. This also proceeds from vivacity with little . There are other public speakers, again, who open heavily in debate—their faculties acting slowly but deeply, like the first heave of a mountain-wave. Their words fall like minute-guns upon the ear, and to the superficial they appear about to terminate ere they have begun their efforts. But even their first accent is one of power; it rouses and arrests attention;

their very pauses are expressive, and indicate gather

ing energy to be embodied in the sentence that is to come. When fairly animated, they are impetuous as the torrent, brilliant as the lightning's beam, and overwhelm and take possession of feebler minds, impressing them irresistibly with a feeling of gigantic power. The distinction between vivacity and energy is well “The mind and body,” says he, “have in this respect a

striking resemblance of each other. In childhood

they are both nimble, but not strong; they can skip . about with wonderful agility, but hard labour spoils them both. In maturer years they become less active but more vigorous, more capable of fixed

o . and can make themselves sport with that w

ich a little earlier would have affected them with intolerable fatigue.” Dr Charlton also, in his Brief Discourse Concerning the Different Wits of Men, has admirably described two characters, in one of which strength is displayed without vivacity, and in the other vivacity without strength; the latter he calls the man of ‘nimble wit,” the former the man of “slow but sure wit.' In this respect the French character may be contrasted with the Scotch. As a general rule, the largest organs in each head have naturally the greatest, and the smallest the least, tendency to act, and to perform their functions with rapidity. The temperaments also indicate the amount of this tendency. The nervous is the most vivacious, next the sanguine, then the bilious, while the lymphatic is characterised by proneness to inaction. In a lymphatic brain, great size may be present and few manifestations occur through sluggishness ; but if a strong external stimulus be presented, energy often appears. If the brain be very small, no degree of stimulus, either external or internal, will cause great power to be manifested. A certain combination of organs—namely, Combativeness, Destructiveness, Hope, Firmness, Acquisitiveness, and Love of Approbation, all large – is favourable to general vivacity of mind ; and another combination — namely, Combativeness, Destructiveness, Hope, Firmness, and Acquisitiveness, small or moderate, with Veneration and Benevolence largeis frequently attended with sluggishness of the mental character; but the activity of the whole brain is constitutionally greater in some individuals than in others, as already explained. It may even happen that, in the same individual, one organ is naturally

more active than another, without reference to size, just as the optic nerve is sometimes more irritable than the auditory; but this is by no means a common occurrence. Exercise greatly increases activity as well as power, and hence arise the benefits of education. Dr Spurzheim thinks that “long fibres produce more activity, and thick fibres more intensity.” The doctrine, that size is a measure of power, is not to be held as implying that much power is the only or even the most valuable quality which a mind in all circumstances can possess. To drag artillery over a mountain, or a ponderous wagon through the streets of London, we would prefer an elephant or a horse of great size and muscular power; while, for graceful motion, agility, and nimbleness, we would select an Arabian palfrey. In like manner, to lead men in gigantic and difficult enterprises—to command by native greatness, in perilous times, when law is trampled under foot—to call forth the energies of a people, and direct them against a tyrant at home, or an alliance of tyrants abroad—to stamp the impress of a single mind upon a nation—to infuse strength into thoughts, and depth into feelings, which shall command the homage of enlightened men in every age—in short, to be a Bruce, Bonaparte, Luther, Knox, Demosthenes, Shakspeare, Milton, or Cromwell —a large brain is indispensably requisite. But to display skill, enterprise, and fidelity in the various professions of civil life—to cultivate with success the less arduous branches of philosophy — to excel in acuteness, taste, and felicity of expression—to acquire extensive erudition and refined manners—a brain of a moderate size is perhaps more suitable than one that is ... large; for wherever the energy is intense, it is rare that delicacy, refinement, and taste are present in an equal degree. Individuals possessing moderate-sized brains easily find their proper sphere, and enjoy in it scope for all their energy. In ordinary circumstances they distinguish themselves, but they sink when difficulties accumulate around them. Persons with large brains, on the other hand, do not

readily attain their appropriate place; common oc

currences do not rouse or call them forth, and, while unknown, they are not trusted with great undertakings. Often, therefore, such men pine and die in obscurity. When, however, they attain their proper element, they are conscious of greatness, and glory in the expansion of their powers. Their mental energies rise in proportion to the obstacles to be surmounted, and blaze forth in all the magnificence of self-sustaining energetic genius, on occasions when feebler minds would sink in despair.

WRITERS IN DIW INITY.

Critical and biblical literature have made great progress within the last half century, but the number of illustrious divines is not great. The early fathers of the Protestant church had indeed done so much in general theology and practical divinity, that comparatively little was left to their successors.

DR PAley.

The greatest divine of the period is DR WILLIAM PALEy, a man of remarkable vigour and clearness of intellect, and originality of character. His acquirements as a scholar and churchman were grafted on a homely, shrewd, and benevolent nature, which no circumstances could materially alter. There was no doubt or obscurity either about the man or his works: he stands out in bold relief among his brother divines, like a sturdy oak on a lawn or parterre —a little hard and cross-grained, but sound, fresh, and massive—dwarfing his neighbours with his weight and bulk, and intrinsic excellence.

He shall be like a tree that grows
Near planted by a river,

Which in his season yields his fruit,
And his leaf fadeth never.

So says our old version of the Psalms with respect to the fate of a righteous man, and Paley was a righteous man whose mind yielded precious fruit, and whose leaves will never fade. This excellent author was born at Peterborough in 1743. His father was afterwards curate of Giggleswick, Yorkshire, and teacher of the grammar-school there. . At the age of fifteen he was entered as sizar at Christ's college, Cambridge, and after completing his academical course, he became tutor in an academy at Greenwich. As soon as he was of sufficient age, he was ordained to be assistant curate of Greenwich. He was afterwards elected a fellow of his college, and went thither to reside, engaging first as tutor. He next lectured in the university on moral philosophy and the Greek Testament. His college friend, Dr Law, bishop of Carlisle, presented him with the rectory of Musgrave, in Westmoreland, and he removed to his country charge, worth only £80 per annum. He was soon inducted into the vicarage of Dalston, in Cumberland, to a prebend's stall in Carlisle cathedral, and also to the archdeaconry of Carlisle. In 1785 appeared his long-meditated Elements of Moral and Political Philosophy; in 1790 his Horae Paulinae; and in 1794 his o of the Evidences of Christianity. Friends and preferment now crowded in on him. The bishop of London (Porteous) made him a prebend of St Paul's; the bishop of Lincoln

presented him with the sub-deanery of Lincoln; and |

the bishop of Durham gave him the rectory of Bishop-Wearmouth, worth about a thousand pounds

annum—and all these within six months, the iuckiest half-year of his life. The boldness and freedom of some of Paley's disquisitions on government, and perhaps a deficiency, real or supposed, in personal dignity, and some laxness, as well as an inveterate provincial homeliness, in conversation, prevented his rising to the bench of bishops. When his name was once mentioned to George III., the monarch is reported to have said “Paley what, pigeon Paley?'—an allusion to a famous sentence in the “Moral and Political Philosophy' on property. As a specimen of his style of reasoning, and the liveliness of his illustrations, we subjoin this passage, which is part of an estimate of the relative duties of men in society:—

Of Property.

If you should see a flock of pigeons in a field of corn, and if (instead of each picking where and what it liked, taking just as much as it wanted, and no more) you should see ninety-nine of them gathering all they got into a heap, reserving nothing for themselves but the chaff and the refuse, keeping this heap for one, and that the weakest, perhaps worst pigeon of the flock; sitting round, and looking on all the winter, whilst this one was devouring, throwing about and wasting it; and if a pigeon, more hardy or hungry than the rest, touched a grain of the hoard, all the others instantly flying upon it and tearing it to pieces; if you should see this, you would see nothing, more than what is every day practised and established among men. Among men you see the ninety-andnine toiling and scraping together a heap of superfluities for one (and this one too, oftentimes, the feeblest and worst of the whole set—a child, a woman, a madman, or a o getting nothing for themselves all the while but a little of the coarsest of the provision which their own industry produces; looking quietly on while they see the fruits of all their labour

[blocks in formation]

account for an institution which, in the view of it

above given, is so paradoxical and unnatural. The principal of these-advantages are the followIng:— I. It increases the produce of the earth. The earth, in climates like ours, produces little without cultivation; and none would be found willing to cultivate the ground, if others were to be admitted to an equal share of the produce. The same is true of the care of flocks and herds of tame animals. Crabs and acorns, red deer, rabbits, game, and fish, are all which we should have to subsist upon in this country, if we trusted to the spontaneous productions of the soil; and it fares not much better with other countries. A nation of North American savages, consisting of two or three hundred, will take up and be half-starved upon a tract of land which in Europe, and with European management, would be sufficient for the maintenance of as many thousands. In some fertile soils, together with great abundance of fish upon their coasts, and in regions where clothes are unnecessary, a considerable degree of population

may subsist without property in land, which is the

case in the islands of Otaheite: but in less favoured situations, as in the country of New Zealand, though

this sort of property obtain in a small degree, the in

habitants, for want of a more secure and regular establishment of it, are driven oftentimes by the scarcity of provision to devour one another. II. It preserves the produce of the earth to maturity. We may judge what would be the effects of a com

munity of right to the productions of the earth, from

the trifling specimens which we see of it at present. A cherry-tree in a hedgerow, nuts in a wood, the grass of an unstinted pasture, are seldom of much advantage to anybody, because people do not wait for the proper season of reaping them.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Corn, if any were

sown, would never ripen; lambs and calves would

never grow up to sheep and cows, because the first person that met them would reflect that he had better take them as they are than leave them for another. III. It prevents contests. War and waste, tumult and confusion, must be unavoidable and eternal where there is not enough

for all, and where there are no rules to adjust the

division. IV. It improves the conveniency of living. This it does two ways. It enables mankind to

divide themselves into distinct professions, which is

impossible, unless a man can exchange the produc

tions of his own art for what he wants from others,

and exchange implies property. Much of the advantage of civilised over savage life depends upon this. When a man is, from necessity, his own tailor, tentmaker, carpenter, cook, huntsman, and fisherman, it

is not probable that he will be expert at any of his

callings. Hence the rude habitations, furniture, clothing, and implements of savages, and the tedious length of time which all their operations require.

It likewise encourages those arts by which the ae

commodations of human life are supplied, by appropriating to the artist the benefit of his discoveries and

improvements, without which appropriation ingenuity

will never be exerted with effect. Upon these several accounts we may venture, with a few exceptions, to pronounce that even the poorest and the worst provided, in countries where property and the consequences of property prevail, are in a better situation with respect to food, raiment, houses, and what are called the necessaries of life, than any are in places where most things remain in common. 652

[ocr errors]

The balance, therefore, upon the whole, must preponderate in favour of property with a manifest and great excess. Inequality of property, in the degree in which it exists in most countries of Europe, abstractedly considered, is an evil; but it is an evil which flows from those rules concerning the acquisition and disposal of property, by which men are incited to industry, and by which the object of their industry is rendered secure and valuable. If there be any great inequality unconnected with this origin, it ought to be corrected. In 1802 Paley published his Natural Theology, his last work. He enjoyed himself in the country with his duties and recreations: he was particularly fond of angling; and he mixed familiarly with his neighbours in all their plans of utility, sociality, and even conviviality. He disposed of his time with great regularity: in his garden he limited himself to one hour at a time, twice a-day ; in reading books of amusement, one hour at breakfast and another in the evening, and one for dinner and his newspaper. By thus dividing and husbanding his pleasures, they remained with him to the last. He died on the 25th of May 1805. No works of a theological or philosophical nature have been so extensively popular among the educated classes of England as those of Paley. His perspicacity of intellect and simplicity of style are almost unrivalled. Though plain and homely, and often inelegant, he has such vigour and discrimination, and such a happy vein of illustration, that he is always read with pleasure and instruction. No reader is ever at a loss for his meaning, or finds him too difficult for comprehension. He had the rare art of popularising the most recondite knowledge, and blending the business of life with philosophy. The principles inculcated in some of his works have been disputed, particularly his doctrine of expediency as a rule of morals, which has been considered as trenching on the authority of revealed religion, and also lowering the standard of public duty. The system of Paley certainly would not tend to foster the great and heroic virtues. In his early life he is

reported to have said, with respect to his subscription to the thirty-nine articles of the Church of England, that he was “too poor to keep a conscience;’ and something of the same laxness of moral feeling pervades his ethical system. His abhorrence of all hypocrisy and pretence was probably at the root of this error. Like Dr Johnson, he was a practical moralist, and looked with distrust on any highstrained virtue or enthusiastic devotion. He did not write for philosophers or metaphysicians, but for the great body of the people anxious to acquire knowledge, and to be able to give “a reason for the hope that is in them.' He considered the art of life to consist in properly “setting our habits, and for this no subtle distinctions or profound theories were necessary. His Moral and Political Philosophy’ is framed on this basis of utility, directed by strong sense, a discerning judgment, and a sincere regard for the true end of all knowledge—the well-being of mankind here and hereafter. Of Paley's other works, Sir James Mackintosh has pronounced the following opinion:—“The most original and ingenious of his writings is the Horae Paulinae. The Evidences of Christianity are formed out of an admirable translation of Butler's Analogy, and a most skilful abridgment of Lardner's Credibility of the Gospel History. He may be said to have thus given value to two works, of which the first was scarcely intelligible to most of those who were most desirous of profiting by it; and the second soon wearies out the

greater #. of readers, though the few who are more patient have almost always been gradually won over

to feel pleasure in a display of knowledge, probity, charity, and meekness unmatched by an avowed advocate in a cause deeply interesting his warmest feelings. His Natural Theology is the wonderful work of a man who, after sixty, had studied anatomy in order to write it; and it could only have been surpassed by a man (Sir Charles Bell) who, to great originality of conception and clearness of exposition, added the advantage of a high place in the first class of physiologists.'

The World was Made with g Benevolent Design. [From “Natural Theology.")

It is a happy world after all. The air, the earth, the water, teem with delighted existence. In a spring noon or a summer evening, on whichever side I turn my eyes, myriads of happy beings crowd upon my view. “The insect youth are on the wing.’ Swarms of new-born flies are trying their pinions in the air. Their sportive motions, their wanton mazes, their gratuitous activity, their continual change of place without use or purpose, testify their joy and the exultation which they feel in their lately-discovered faculties. A bee amongst the flowers in spring is one of the most cheerful objects that can be looked upon. Its life appears to be all cnjoyment; so busy and so ". yet it is only a specimen of insect life, with which, by reason of the animal being halfdomesticated, we happen to be better acquainted than we are with that of others. The whole winged insect tribe, it is probable, are equally intent upon their proper employments, and, under every variety of constitution, gratified, and perhaps equally gratified, by the offices which the Author of their nature has assigned to them. But the atmosphere is not the only scene of enjoyment for the insect race. Plants are covered with aphides, greedily sucking their juices, and constantly, as it should seem, in the act of sucking. It cannot be doubted but that this is a state of gratification: what else should fix them so close to the operation, and so long? Other species are running about with an alacrity in their motions which carries with it every mark of pleasure. Large patches of ground are sometimes half covered with these brisk and sprightly natures. If we look to what the waters produce, shoals of the fry of fish frequent the margins of rivers, of lakes, and of the sea itself. These are so happy that they know not what to do with themselves. Their attitudes, their vivacity, their leaps out of the water, their frolics in it (which I have noticed a thousand times with equal attention and amusement), all conduce to show their excess of spirits, and are simply the effects of that excess. Walking by the sea-side in a calm evening upon a sandy shore and with an ebbing tide, I have frequently remarked the appearance of a dark cloud, or rather very thick mist, hanging over the edge of the water, to the height, perhaps, of half a yard, and of the breadth of two or three yards, stretching along the coast as far as the eye could reach, and always retiring with the water. When this cloud came to be examined, it proved to be nothing else than so much space filled with young shrimps in the act of bounding into the air from the shallow margin of the water, or from the wet sand. If any inotion of a mute animal could express delight, it was this ; if they had meant to make signs of their happiness, they could not have done it more intelligibly. Suppose, then, what I have no doubt of, each individual of this number to be in a state of positive enjoyment; what a sum, collectively, of gratification and pleasure have we here before our view

The young of all animals appear to me to receive pleasure simply from the exercise of their limbs and bodily faculties, without reference to any end to be attained, or any use to be answered by the exertion. A child, without knowing anything of the use of language, is in a high degree delighted with being able to speak. Its incessant repetition of a few articulate sounds, or perhaps of the single word which it has learned to pronounce, proves this point clearly. Nor is it less pleased with its first successful endeavours to walk, or rather to run (which precedes walking), although entirely ignorant of the importance of the attainment to its future life, and even without applying it to any present purpose. A child is delighted with speaking, without having anything to say: and with walking, without knowing where to go. And, prior to both these, I am disposed to believe that the waking hours of infancy are agreeably taken up with the exercise of vision, or perhaps, more properly speaking, with learning to see. But it is not for youth alone that the great Parent of creation hath provided. Happiness is found with the purring cat no less than with the playful kitten ; in the arm-chair of dozing age, as well as in either the sprightliness of the dance or the animation of the chase. To novelty, to acuteness of sensation, to hope, to ardour of pursuit, succeeds what is, in no inconsiderable degree, an equivalent for them all," perception of ease.” Hérein is the exact difference between the young and the old. The young are not happy but when enjoying pleasure; the old are happy when free from pain. And this constitution suits with the degrees of animal power which they respectively possess. The vigour of youth was to be stimulated to action by impatience of rest; whilst to the imbecility of age, quietness and repose become positive gratifications. In one important step the advantage is with the old. A state of ease is, generally speaking, more attainable than a state of pleasure. A constitution, therefore, which can enjoy ease, is preferable to that which can taste only pleasure. This same perception of ease oftentimes renders old age a condition of great comfort, especially when riding at its anchor after a busy or tempestuous life. It is well described by Rousseau to be the interval of repose and enjoyment between the hurry and the end of life. How far the same cause extends to other animal natures, cannot be judged of with certainty. The appearance of satisfaction with which most animals, as their activity subsides, seek and enjoy rest, affords reason to believe that this source of gratification is appointed to advanced life under all or most of its various forms. In the species with which we are best acquainted, namely, our own, I am far, even as an observer of human life, from thinking that outh is its happiest season, much less the only ppy one.

A new and illustrated edition of Paley's ‘Natural Theology' was published in 1835, with scientific illustrations by Sir Charles Bell, and a preliminary discourse by Henry Lord Brougham. DR Richard WATson, bishop of Llandaff (17371816), did good service to the cause of revealed religion and social order by his replies to Gibbon the historian, and Thomas Paine. To the former he addressed a series of letters, entitled An Apology for Christianity, in answer to Gibbon's celebrated chapters on the rise and progress of Christianity; and when Paine published his Age of Reason, the bishop met it with a vigorous and conclusive reply, which he termed An Apology for the Bible. Watson also published a few sermons, and a collection of theological tracts, selected from various authors, in six volumes. His Whig principles stood in the way of his church preferment, and he had not magnanimity enough to conceal his disappointment, which is strongly expressed in an autobiographical memoir published after his death by his son. Dr Watson,

however, was a man of forcible intellect, and of various knowledge. His controversial works are highly honourable to him, both for the manly and candid spirit in which they are written, and the logical clearness and strength of his reasoning. DR BEILBy Porteous, bishop of London (17311808), was a popular dignitary of the church, author of a variety of sermons and tracts connected with church discipline. He distinguished himself at col

Tomb of Bishop Porteous at Sunbridge, Kent.

lege by a prize poem On Death, which has been often reprinted: it is but a feeble transcript of Blair's ‘ Grave.” Dr Porteous warmly befriended Beattie the poet (whom he wished to take orders in the church of England), and he is said to have assisted Hannah More in her novel of Coelebs. DR SAMUEL HoRsley, bishop of St Asaph (17331806), was one of the most conspicuous churchmen of his day. He belonged to the high church party, and strenuously resisted all political or ecclesiastical change. He was learned and eloquent, but prone to controversy, and deficient in charity and the milder virtues. His character was not unlike that of one of his patrons, Chancellor Thurlow, stern and unbending, but cast in a manly mould. He was an indefatigable student. His first public appearance was in the character of a man of science. He was some time secretary of the Royal Society— wrote various short treatises on scientific subjects, and published an edition of Sir Isaac Newton's works. As a critic and scholar he had few equals; and his disquisitions on the prophets Isaiah and Hosea, his translations of the Psalms, and his Biblical Criticisms (in four volumes), justly entitled him to the honour of the mitre. His serinons, in three volumes, are about the best in the language: clear, nervous, and profound, he entered undauntedly upon the most difficult subjects, and dispelled, by research

and argument, the doubt that hung over several

passages of Scripture. He was for many years engaged in a controversy with Dr Priestley on the subject of the divinity of Christ. Both of the combatants lost their temper; but when Priestley resorted to a charge of “incompetency and ignorance,' it was evident that he felt himself sinking in the struggle. In intellect and scholarship, Horsley was vastly superior to his antagonist. The political opinions and intolerance of the bishop were more successfully attacked by Robert Hall, in his Apo. logy for the Freedom of the Press.

[graphic]

GILBERT WAKEFIELD (1756-1801) enjoyed celebrity both as a writer on controversial divinity and a classical critic. He left the church in consequence of his embracing Unitarian opinions, and afterwards left also the dissenting establishment at Hackney, to which he had attached himself. He published translations of some of the epistles in the New Testament, and an entire translation of the same sacred volume, with notes. He was also author of a work on Christian Evidence, in reply to Paine. The bishop of Llandaff having in 1798 written an address against the principles of the French Revolution, Wakefield replied to it, and was subjected to a crown prosecution for libel; he was found guilty, and sentenced to two years' imprisonment. He published editions of Horace, Virgil, Lucretius, &c. which ranked him among the first scholars of his time. Wakefield was an honest, precipitate, and simple-minded man; a Pythagorean in his diet, and eccentric in many of his habits and opinions. “He was,’ says one of his biographers, “as violent against Greek accents as he was against the Trinity, and anathematised the final N as strongly as episcopacy.’

The infidel principles which abounded at the period of the French Revolution, and continued to agitate both France and England for some years, induced a disregard of vital piety long afterwards in the higher circles of British society. To counteract this, MR WILBERForce, then member of parliament for the county of York, published in 1797 A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians in the Higher and Middle Classes of this Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity. Five editions of the work were sold within six months, and it still continues, in various languages, to form a popular religious treatise. The author attested, by his daily life, the sincerity of his opinions. William Wilberforce was the son of a wealthy merchant, and born at Hull in 1759. He was educated at Cambridge, and on completing his twentyfirst year, was returned to parliament for his native town. He soon distinguished himself by his talents, and became the idol of the fashionable world—dancing at Almack's, and singing before the Prince of Wales. In 1784, while pursuing a continental tour with some relations, in company with Dean Milner, the latter so impressed him with the truths of Christianity, that Wilberforce entered upon a new life, and abandoned all his former gaieties. In parliament he pursued a strictly independent course. For twenty years he laboured for the abolition of the slave-trade, a question with which his name is inseparably entwined. His time, his talents, influence, and prayers, were directed towards the consummation of this object, and at length, in 1807, he had the high gratification of seeing it accomplished. The religion of Wilberforce was mild and cheerful, unmixed with austerity or gloom. He closed his long and illustrious life on the 27th July 1833, one of those men who, by their virtues, talents, and energy, impress their own character on the age in which they live. His latter years realised his own beautiful description—

[On the Effects of Religion.]

When the pulse beats high, and we are flushed with youth, and health, and vigour; when all goes on prosperously, and success seems almost to anticipate our wishes, then we feel not the want of the consolations of religion : but when fortune frowns, or

friends forsake us ; when sorrow, or sickness, or old age comes upon us, then it is that the superiority of the pleasures of religion is established over those of dissipation and vanity, which are ever apt to fly from us when we are most in want of their aid. There is scarcely a more melancholy sight to a considerate mind, than that of an old man who is a stranger to those only true sources of satisfaction. How affecting, and at the same time how disgusting, is it to see such a one awkwardly catching at the pleasures of his younger years, which are now beyond his reach ; or feebly attempting to retain them, while they mock his endeavours and elude his grasp ! To such a one gloomily, indeed, does the evening of life set in 1 All is sour and cheerless. He can neither look backward with complacency, nor forward with hope; while the aged Christian, relying on the assured mercy of his Redeemer, can calmly reflect that his dismission is at hand ; that his redemption draweth nigh. While his strength declines, and his faculties decay, he can quietly repose himself on the fidelity of God; and at the very entrance of the valley of the shadow of death, he can lift up an eye dim perhaps and feeble, yet occasionally sparkling with hope, and confidently looking forward to the near possession of his heavenly inheritance, ‘to those joys which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive.” What striking lessons have we had of the precarious tenure of all sublunary possessions ! Wealth, and power, and prosperity, how peculiarly transitory and uncertain But religion dispenses her choicest cordials in the seasons of exigence, in poverty, in exile, in sickness, and in death. The essential superiority of that support which is derived from religion is less felt, at least it is less apparent, when the Christian is in full possession of riches and splendour, and rank, and all the gifts of nature and fortune. But when all these are swept away by the rude hand of time or the rough blasts of adversity, the true Christian stands, like the glory of the forest, erect and vigorous ; stripped, indeed, of his summer foliage, but more than ever discovering to the observing eye the solid strength of his substantial texture.

Another distinguished volunteer in the cause of religious instruction, and an extensive miscellaneous writer, was MRs HANNAH MoRE, whose works we have previously enumerated.

DR SAMUEL PARR-Dr EDWArd MALtd YREv. SIDNEY SMITH.

DR SAMUEL PARR (1747-1825) was better known as a classical scholar than a theologian. His sermons on education are, however, marked with cogency of argument and liberality of feeling. His celebrated Spital sermon, when printed, presented the singular anomaly of fifty-one pages of text and two hundred and twelve of notes. Mr Godwin attacked some of the principles laid down in this discourse, as not sufficiently democratic for his taste; for though a stanch Whig, Parr was no revolutionist or leveller. His object was to extendeducation among the poor, and to ameliorate their condition by gradual and constitutional means. Dr Parr was long head master of Norwich school; and in knowledge of Greek literature was not surpassed by any scholar of his day. His uncompromising support of Whig principles, his extensive learning, and a certain pedantry and oddity of character, rendered him always conspicuous among his brother churchmen. He died at Hatton, in Warwickshire, the perpetual curacy of which he had enjoyed for above forty years, and where he had faithfully discharged his duties as a parish pastor.

DR. Edward MALTBY, the present bishop of Dur

« PoprzedniaDalej »