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content on a favourite pad, which, however, it | apophthegm while watching the play or lis was his whim to dress in the housings of his tall charger, and to train to the same paces. To extract the marrow of church history was his appointed duty-to construct schemes of physiology his habitual pastime. Uncle Toby never threw up his intrenchments, nor "myed the fact. What with managing constituents father" his theories with greater spirit. He worked out, at least on paper, a complete plan of education, founded on a diligent survey of the functions of the brain; and composed an elaborate system, exhibiting the future condition of man when disencumbered of those viscous and muscular integuments, which in the present life serve as a kind of sheath to protect the sentient mind within, from the intensities of delight or of pain to which, without such a shelter, it would be exposed. Too wise ever to become frivolous or vapid, his wisdom was not of that exquisite mould, which exhibits itself in unimpaired lustre, in a state of gayety and relaxation. Whatever might be his theme, his march was still the same, stately, studied, and wearisome. His theological and his cerebral inquiries were all conducted in the same sonorous language. Period rolled after period in measured cadence, page answered page in scientific harmony. This paragraph challenged applause for its melodious swell, that for its skilful complexity, the next for the protracted simile with which it brought some abstruse discussion to a picturesque and graceful close. Any of them would have furnished Dr. Blair with illustrations of his now-forgotten rules for writing well; and exceedingly fine writing it was. But, after all, one's hobby might as well be put into a waltz as into the grand menage. It is only in his own easy natural shuffling gait that the animal shows to advantage. So kind-hearted, however, and so full of matter was our rider, that the most fastidious critic could hardly think twice of such a trifle.
tening to the prattle of his own children. But that, north or south of Trent, such another is to be found must be disbelieved, until a commission of married men, of six years' standing at the least, shall have ascertained and reportand turnpike trusts, writing sermons and prescriptions, meeting the hounds to-day and the quarter-sessions to-morrow, an English country gentleman, whether clerical or laic, who should undertake the late development of the "Ideality," and the "Conceptive Faculty," and the "Sense of Analogy," of his children, though he should address himself to "the intuitive faculties" alone, and those "gently stimulated by pleasurable emotions," would, in a myriad of cases to one, end in something very differ ent from the promised result of "putting their minds into a condition of intellectual opu. lenee." Adam was earning the bread of his sons by the sweat of his brow, while they were learning to keep sheep, and to till the ground, and such has ever since been the condition of his descendants. Here and there may perhaps be found an Eden such as our author inhabited and described, where exempt from the cares of earth, and cultivating a correspondence between the human and the Divine mind, fathers such as he was are training their off spring to apprehend truth, to impart truth, and to discover truth. A lovely scene it was, and drawn with all the earnest pathos of paternal love. But as the Belvidere Apollo differs from an honest sportsman of our days, or the Godfrey of Tasso from an officer of her majesty's Life-Guards, even such was the difference between our rural philosopher and the ten thou sand respectable gentlemen over the walls of whose country mansions fertile vines have crept, and whose tables are thickly set with olive branches: though amongst them may be found double first-class men, and here and there a senior wrangler.
The lines had fallen to him in pleasant places, and his gratitude to Providence expressed itself in depicting his goodly heritage Thus flowed on a life which kings might for the delight and the emulation of others. have envied, sages approved, and poets sung. Not, indeed, that he laid bare the sacred re- if in these later days those illustrious personcesses of his home to the vulgar gaze, by pub- ages had not become very chary of such falishing journals, confessions, or an autobio-vours. Things looked as if the village sculpgraphy. He would just as soon have surren- tor and versifier would be the sole guardian dered his body to the surgeons for dissection of his posthumous fame, and he known to as an anatomie vivante. But reversing the familiar method of conveying moral precepts under the veil of narrative, he told unconsciously in a didactic form, a story as beautiful as it was true. An English country house was the scene: the dramatis personæ parents, enjoying competency, health, and leisure, very learned and amiable withal, and wise above measure, with a troop of boys and girls as intelligent and docile as they were gay: the plot or fable being made up of the late, though complete development of their various mental powers.
That such a house did exist, and that beneath its tranquil shelter many a youth and many a maid were trained to improve and to adorn the land which gave them birth, no reader of the book called "Home Education," will for a moment doubt; or at least none who has ever invented a theory or revolved an
posterity only as one of those best of fathers and of men, over whose remains the yew tree in the neighbouring church-yard stood senti nel. Such a catastrophe would have suited well with his quiet scorn of terrestrial glory, but ill with those high-wrought graces of style in which he was accustomed to express it Religion and philosophy may diminish the danger, but hardly the strength, of the universal craving for the esteem of our fellow-mortals. He knew and had reflected much; and it was his duty to impart it. He had discovered many current errors, and it behooved him to expose them. His flow of language was choice and copious, and philanthropy itself suggested that he should awaken all its melodies. If renown would follow, if a frivolous world would admire her monitor, if his labours of love should win for him the regard of the discerning few, or even the applause of
the unthinking many, why, he was too benevo- | chosen title, the want of lucid order, and a lent, too honest, and too wise, either to despise grandiloquence here more than ever out of the recompense or to affect to depreciate it; and thus he became an author.
place, may partly account for this. Be the world, however, assured, that among the works on ecclesiastical polity which it has of late received with acclamation, there is not one so worthy of being reverently praised and inwardly digested.
The divisions "now so much exasperated that exist amongst us, on questions belonging to the exterior forms and the profession of religion, are of a kind that affect the Christian with inexpressible grief, the patriot with shame and dismay, and the statesman with hopeless perplexity." So says our author, and so in turn say all the disputants. But he alone, as far as our reading extends, has breathed this complaint in the true spirit of Christian kindness, united to a catholic breadth of capacity and of knowledge.
To" exhibit at one view the several principal forms of spurious or corrupted religion," had for many years been his chosen task. But art is long, and life short; and the stately edifice pictured in his imagination, was abandoned for a range of structures of humbler form, though better suited to the taste and habits of his age. An Essay on Enthusiasm prepared the way for another on Fanaticism, to which were destined to succeed treatises on Superstition, on Credulity, on the Corruption of Morals, and on Skepticism. Of this series, the four last never saw the light; the place as signed in the programme to Superstition having been usurped by Spiritual Despotism, and by a succession of tracts drawn up in battle array against those of the Oxford Catholics, What are the legitimate foundations, and under the title of "Primitive Christianity." what the proper limits of sacerdotal authority? Thus was produced an incomplete course of-questions proposed and answered by many lectures on Ecclesiastical Nosology-a science which, however inviting, could not exercise an undisputed influence over one who lived in such scenes, and who was blessed with such associates as we have mentioned.
Nothing more easy than the transition from the spiritual diseases of the world to the mental health of his own nursery-from the contemplation of souls infected by the taint of their mortal prison-house, to a meditation on immortal spirits, whose corporeal shrines shall eternally enhance their purest joys and participate in the discharge of their most exalted duties. As when a Teutonic commentator, a man egregious and most celebrated, long harassed with the arrangement of some intractable chorus, escaping at length from its anapæstic or ditrochæan bondage into an excursus on the dress and ornaments of the Grecian stage, revels and lingers there, rejoicing in his freedom, and recruits his strength for new metrical labours; so our author, (whose Homeric style, it may be perceived, is contagious,) averting his thoughts from the sad legends of human weakness, which fill so large a space in the history of the Christian Church, would take refuge in the paradise of home, or in musings on that eternal rest of which earth has no other type so vivid or so endearing. On his Natural History of Enthusiasm," faithful critics (ourselves among the number) pronounced a sentence, which, if not altogether flattering to the self-esteem of the historian, may yet have contributed to that improvement in the art of authorship which is to be distinctly traced in his later books.
Time and space would fail us, should we now endeavour to estimate all his labours in that branch of moral or religious science which he undertook to cultivate. But the book called "Religious Despotism," demands at least a passing notice. Incomparably the most vigorous offspring of his brain, it has had, like some portionless younger brother, to struggle on against unmerited neglect; the whole patrimony of praise having been seized apon by the book on Enthusiasm, in virtue of the law of literary primogeniture. An ill
a polemic, religious and political; and sometimes, though very rarely, discussed in the spirit of a philosophy more pure and elevated than is usually imbibed by such controversialists. How this debate was managed by a man of robust sense, profound learning, and still deeper piety, who, though too upright and too fastidious to surrender himself to the extravagances of any party, had a wide personal acquaintance with the modes of thinking and with the habits of all, would be well worth the knowing, even if that knowledge did not contribute to our more immediate object of delineating his literary character. Ample, however, must be the space in which to make a complete exhibition, or even an exact epitome of his doctrines. It will be enough to indicate such of them as he seems to have regarded with peculiar attachment.
Religion, an indestrustible element of our nature, may exist as a system of superstitious terrors; in which case the abject humiliation of the proselyte will give the measure of the authority of the priest. Or it may exist as a genuine revelation from Heaven; but even so, the fluctuating fashions of the world will exalt or depress the powers of the ministers of the purest faith. The Greek patriarch, after the manner of his nation, scaled such heights of authority as subtlety and eloquence could command for him. The successors of Peter triumphed by force of the same audacious energy which had before given empire to the Cæsars. Boasting of her liberties, the Gallican Church was content to lose every thing hormis l'honneur.
In England, ecclesiastical despotism had to encounter the inflexible spirit of our barons and burgesses; while Demos, the arch-tyrant of the United States, supreme over all rulers, temporal and spiritual, lays alike on president and priest his inexorable command to progress
soon usurp the sceptre and the sword. Religion | Christian society would spontaneously assume. unites men in societies, resting on a basis more | Episcopal rule is the "primitive form" in which profound, and yet agitated by excitements pure Christianity appears among men: indemore intense and frequent, than any other.pendency that which it acquires when men Between a theocracy administered by the have learned to distrust each other. Patrisacred order, and a church at once restrained archal command and filial duty wait on that and protected by law, there is no middle resting-perfect love which casteth out fear; self-asserplace. "Alliance" is but a lofty euphemism tion and the impatience of control, on that restfor allegiance. less fear which casts out love. Government and the graduated subordination of ranks would have been a divine ordinance, even if it had not been expressly and in terms promulgated as such. It may be read in the inspired volume; but it may be discerned almost as clearly in the natural distinctions of mankind. God himself has consecrated some to the royal, some to the episcopal, and some to the priestly office; and whether the world will hear or will forbear, that high commission is still extant in unimpaired force, and may never be disobeyed with impunity.
Competency and independence will still be the desire and the aim of the human heart, whether it beats under the corslet, the ermine, or the surplice. To refuse to ecclesiastics the gratification of this wish, is as imprudent as it is vain. While pointing the way to heaven, they are still our fellow-travellers in the ways of earth. Abandon them to the spontaneous support of their disciples, and there is an end of the mental composure necessary for their arduous duties, and there is an inlet to flatteries and to frauds, the most repugnant to their hallowed character. On such a system imposts are laid on the poor and the feeble-minded, and evaded by the wealthy and the supercilious. For the indigent no provision is made. All the more permanent and catholic schemes of Christian philanthropy are unheeded; and the greatest of all social interests is intrusted to mere impulses to which no rational lawgiver would confide, the least. History records the result of this experiment, as tried not in the narrow form of the modern congregational system, but on the broader principle of thus creating funds to support the pastors of a province or a state. Constantine may have been the nursing father, but he was also the resolute reformer of the Church. Her primitive sanctity was impaired, not by the privileges he conferred, but by the rapacious habits on which the exercise of that imperial bounty entitled and enabled him to impose some restraint. Of the alliance which he negotiated, the essential condition was, that the Christian hierarchy should be defended by law in the possession of the wealth assigned to them, and should be prohibited by law from augmenting it by unworthy means.
Men uniting in religious fellowship must also be united by some scheme of internal organization. These societies must be made up of the teachers and the taught, of the governors and the governed. They should be rather families, in which there is much to be learned, to be borne, and to be done, than clubs held together by a revocable will for the enjoyment in common of equal privileges.
As in the domestic, so in the ecclesiastical household, the higher functions ought to be undertaken by those to whom that eminence is due, on the ground of superior endowments, whether natural or acquired. How to adjust the claims of rival candidates, is the great practical difficulty. Who shall decide which members of the church shall be raised to the clerical office, and which shall constitute the laity. Apostolical example, in this case, affords no rule for the guidance of later ages. When as yet congregations were to be formed, the choice of teachers inevitably belonged to the first promulgators of the faith. Neither will the sacred text yield an explicit answer to this inquiry. Nothing more studiously indennite than the language of Paul, of Peter, and of John, regarding the external institutes of Christianity. Such outward forms they decidedly left in an inchoate and plastic state, to be moulded to the varying exigencies of mankind in different political societies.
From their writings, and from the practice of their immediate successors, may, however, be deduced one general principle. It is, that in the government of the Church the monarchical and the popular elements should be combined and harmonized. Yet to divorce them from each other is the common aim, though by opposite methods, both of those whose boast is their apostolical succession, and of those who exult in the freedom of religious democracy. Here both parties are untrue to their own cardinal maxims. The antiquarian divines explore their records in vain for a pretext for Absolute monarchy would be the most per- excluding the laity from a voice in deliberation, fect scheme of civil, and absolute prelacy of in discipline, and in the election of their bishops, ecclesiastical government, if kings and prelates priests, and deacons. On this subject they were absolutely wise and just. Synods, par- therefore decline, and shrink from their favourliaments, franchises, constitutional rights, in-ite and customary appeal to tradition. estimable as securities against social evils, are yet but proofs of that degeneracy which, in certain respects, they contribute to enhance. They impede the growth and the expansion of some of the noblest of our moral sentiments; such as loyalty, veneration, humility, and mutual confidence. Now, in these and similar feelings, the very essence of religion consists. Whatever ecclesiastical regimen most conduces to their development, is that which a
pure biblicists search the inspired canon with equally ill success, for one word to show that the pastor should be the mere stipendiary and dependent of his flock, subsisting on their bounty, subject to their will, and removable at their pleasure. They therefore refuse in this discussion to admit "the Bible, and the Bible alone" as their complete and all-sufficient guide of conduct. Sacerdotal power and popular control, which, by a well adjusted equipoise,
should mutually sustain the spiritual edifice, it to deserve the reward of a generous cup of are thus, by their ill-judging partisans, arrayed sack, so he who had thus submitted himself to as antagonist, or rather as hostile forces. In the penance of tracing, in distinct and legible one direction the march of despotism, in characters, the progress of spiritual despotism, another the progress of anarchy, is advanced his task accomplished, soared away into other by those to whom both should be equally ab-contemplations more agreeable to himself at horrent, as being equally opposed to their com- least, because more abstruse, which he remon faith. Ivealed to the lower world under the enigmatical title of "Saturday Evening." He sought relief and found it, when ordinary mortals find little else than lassitude; for, in the full sense of that profound expression, he was a man spiritually minded. His assent to Christianity was no faint admission that the balance of conflicting arguments inclined in favour of that belief. It was a conviction rooted in the inmost recesses of his mind; the germinating principle of the devout thoughts which grew spontaneously in that well cultured and fertile soil. To measure the heights and the depths of the truths revealed or intimated in the inspired volume, was at once the solace and the habitual labour of his life.
How copious the eloquence with which the author of "Spiritual Despotism" would have disclaimed all responsibility for the opinions thus ascribed to him, and for the language in which they have been expressed! With what exuberant artifices of style would he have insisted that the mature results of the patient studies of his life, are not to be understood by any less laborious method than that of reading and meditating the volume in which he has himself recorded them! No protest could be more reasonable. Of such a book a fair estimate cannot be formed from the hasty sketch of an inconsiderable fragment, selected not as being more impressive than the rest, but it may be as indicating doctrines for which, as From the strife of politicians, the wonders very nearly coinciding with his own, the ab- of art, and the controversies of the learned, he breviator might desire to win at least a tran- turned away to ponder on the hopes and prossient notice. Gratitude to him who has brought pects of the Christian Church, on her lapse to the birth thoughts with which the mind has from original purity, on the fellowship and isobeen long, though silently teeming, may over-lation of her members, the limits of revealed flow in unmeasured praise. Little, however, knowledge, the dissolution and the perpetuity is hazarded in announcing this work as the of our nature, and the modes of our future exmost original, comprehensive, and profound istence. Incapable of acquiescing tamely in contribution which any living writer in our any of the dogmatic systems of divinity, (all own country has made to the science of eccle- alike definite, cold, sterile, and earth-born,) he siastical polity. They whose delight is in the aspired to reach that upper region which the transcendental and the obscure, who pine for pure light visits, and whence alone it is retheories which elude their grasp, and believe flected in all its purity. There he proposed to that to strain is to expand the mind, will judge himself and handled problems of which Butler otherwise. For once our author must submit might have surmised the solution, and Milton to the reproach, perhaps the unwelcome re-evolved the latent glories. But he was attemptproach, of being perfectly intelligible. Drawing to scale eminences where the mightiest ing outlines of history with a hand as bold and become conscious of their weakness, and the free as that of Guizot, conversant with princi- boldest imagination is taught the penury of ples as recondite as those of Coleridge, and her resources. To throw some unsteady and animated by the same chaste and fervent piety precarious lights on such themes, should limit which hallows the speculations of Mr. Glad- the ambition, as it will unavoidably terminate stone, his was the further praise of bringing to the success, of all intellects but those of the the encounter, with the loftiest abstractions, most exalted order. Yet how abstain altogether that athletic good sense which disdains to en- from such endeavours to explore things unlarge itself by looming through a fog. Master, I dreamt of in our popular theology, when the as he was of the chiar' oscuro, the love of truth ear has been trained to hear, however indiswas too strong in him for the love of art. Ad- tinctly, the undertones of the Divine voice, and dressing mankind on a subject of urgent and the heart to understand, however imperfectly, solemn interest, he rose so far above the fash- the inarticulate language of the Divine governions of his age, as to shun the region over ment? Blessed in no vulgar degree with such which sublimity and nonsense hold divided perceptions, our author applied himself with rule; remembering, perhaps, that it has never reverence, and, with freedom of thought, to been frequented by any of the master spirits topics which, when so examined, can never of the world; and that, even amongst men di- be unfruitful, though the fruits may often be vinely inspired, he who was at once the great-unripe, and to the great majority unpalatable. est and the most deeply learned, had preferred Take, as an example, the following abridgment to speak five words to edification than to speak of a chapter, entitled, "The State of Seclu ten thousand words in an unknown tongue. sion:" To grapple with principles of the widest span, without requiring so much as a momentary repose in the lap of mysticism, is an admirable power. To refuse on such an occasion, the | but too familiar and ready aid of that narcotic, is a real, though an unobtrusive virtue.
As the unwonted self-denial of thin potations wil! sometimes appear to him who has made
From our narrow survey of the affairs of mankind, no principle of universal morals can be deduced, except as a matter of doubtful speculation and still recurring controversy, triumphant to-day, to be discarded to-morrow. Were it otherwise, the slumber of the sou.. with all its attendant dreams and fantasies, must be broken. Our probationary state re-
quires that we should exist only as the inhabitants of a narrow area, shut out from the general assembly of intelligent beings, and denied all access to those vehement and irresistible persuasions by which, with their comprehensive knowledge of the universal laws of the divine economy, they would constrain us to obedience. Within the walls of our prisonhouse we are condemned to grope in vain, if so we may discover the permanent tendencies and the ultimate issues of things. The great axioms of eternal virtue are rather obscured than illustrated by the complexity, the insignificance, and the obtrusive glare of those occurrences which make up national and individual history. Each man is straightened in his sphere of observation and of thought. His experience is incalculably small when compared to that of the whole human family, of which he is for the time a member. Of the events of preceding ages, he may catch some faint notices; of those of the ages to come, he lives and dies in profound ignorance. Between those who are entering and those who are about to quit this stage of existence, there are such distinctions of physical temperament as greatly intercept the tradition of knowledge from parents to their children. Geographical position, the antipathy of races, discordance of tastes, and differences of speech, contribute still further to segregate communities and their component parts. The intervention of a river, or a chain of mountains, will reduce to mute signs and gestures the language by which man holds intercourse with his fellows. Narrowing his pursuits and thoughts within a single path, the petty cares of life render him ignorant of what is passing beyond his daily walk, and unobservant of the far larger proportion of what occurs within it. So apparently inextricable is the confusion, and so many the seeming anomalies of all that falls under his personal notice, that man's existence assumes the semblance rather of a game of chance than of a system throughout which is to be traced the average result of established rules. So feeble is the faculty of generalization in most-so minute, urgent, and uniform, and yet so numerous the affairs in which they are engaged; such are the contaminations, and such the ridicule of life; so extravagant the folly in one direction, and so abject the misery in another, that the prospect open to any one of us, during his confinement in this sublunary state, is every where hedged round within narrow precincts, and bounded by a horizon as indistinct as it is near.
of one great law by which all nature is pervaded. Created intelligences are every where kept apart from that communion with other ranks of being, whose greater comprehensiveness of knowledge would destroy the balance of conflicting motives, and reduce the rational will to a state of unresisting subjection. Man is isolated from preceding generations, and from all but a very inconsiderable number of his own, because the comprehensive experience which he might otherwise gain of the course of human affairs, would in the same manner be destructive of his liberty of choice. Each is left to gather from his separate experience moral rules at once unobtrusive, and yet capable of sufficient proof. Wisdom does not raise her voice in the streets; she calmly offers instruction to the prudent, but does not force it on the thoughtless. The division of created minds into distinct communities, and the various methods by which the members of the same community are separated from each other, are parts of that general ordinance or system by which a certain reserve is imposed on wisdom and on virtue. Things eternal and universal are unseen; things partial and temporal are alone submitted to our observation.
Such, divested of the embellishments with which they fell from his own hand, are the meditations to which the historian of Enthusiasm has devoted one of his "Saturday Evenings." It is a loss they can ill afford. Winnowed a little further, this splendid essay (for such in the original it really is) might, without the escape of any of its essences, be exhibited in the form of one or two simple and familiar truths:-as thus:
Moral probation is incompatible with a distinct and certain foresight of all the remote tendencies, and of all the ultimate results of our conduct. If the transient delights which allure us, and the overwhelming evils which follow in their train, were both at once revealed to the mental vision in the vivid colours and hard outlines of the naked reality, neither vice nor virtue could any longer exist among men. As probationers, we must live in the state of seclusion, that is, we must be cut off from those sources of information, which, if we had access to them, would prevent even a momentary equipoise between the present and the futurebetween those desires which crave immediate indulgence, and those which point to a distant but greater good. One of the causes by which the influx of such knowledge is impeded, is the insular position of our globe in the shoreless ocean of space; and as this physical isolation of worlds seems to pervade the celestial system, we may conjecture that "seclusion is a law of the universe," and that throughout the stellar regions imperfect knowledge is made conducive to the exercise and the improvement of virtue. There is but one Being to whom we are taught to ascribe complete and inflexible rectitude, because there is but one to whom we can attribute absolute omniscience.
Yet from our prison-house we look out on populous regions of illimitable space, though forbidden to converse with their inhabitants. We perceive that, beyond the limits of our own planet, the same law of seclusion prevails. Creation does not form one continuous surface over which beings of the same order might pursue an unbroken path, but is made up of globes suspended in thin space at incalculable distances. While neighbouring worlds are thus estranged from each other, the vast- Inconsiderable as is the amount of genuine ore ness of the universe is exhibited to every per- employed in this essay, and in many other parts cipient being within its range. Thus the iso- of the collection of which it forms no unfavourlation of man is but the development on earthable specimen, it would be difficult to refer to