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mental characters, because we respect them in spite of the wilful blindness with which they have surrendered themselves to Church authority, evidently for the sake of exercising a portion of that authority over the junior portion of the University. The Prospectus they have published must be an object of amazement to men of enlightened minds abroad. It is a miserable TWADDLE from beginning to end.
To say anything of Mr. Wirgman is to give him too much importance. Yet something must be said in connection with the miserable state of Mental Philosophy in England—a.state which the success of such a man, in the character of Philosopher, proves with a melancholy evidence. He must know enough of the Kantian System to be aware that he has totally perverted it. The Translator of the CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON, (what sort of translation he has published, I cannot tell,) must know that the Essence of the System consists in beginning our Philosophical inquiries within our own minds. But Mr. Wirgman is not to be stopped by any such considerations. He suspected that such slow, internal proceedings would not suit to the latitude of Marylebone, and he begins by the SENSES. He must have at least suspected that he was talking perfect nonsense, when he said, that “the only sure way to instil into the Minds of Youth a perfect knowledge of the universal Principles of the Newtonian Philosophy is to demonstrate to them the real functions of the Five Senses
—these only inlets to knowledge:” but his object was to flatter national vanity by mentioning Newton. It is impossible to condense more absurdities in the same number of words. Here Mr. W. professes himself a disciple of Newton, of Kant, and of Locke ;—where, except in England would such a mass of contradictory statements pass without raising a shout of contempt and disgust? But, in spite of the high internal civilization of the country, the general Ignorance on these subjects is quite surprising. But to proceed ; Mr. Wirgman must be aware that the Trinity which appears in the examination of our mind, is totally different from the Church Trinity; but he stamps a triangle with a portion of the Athanasian Creed in it, at the head of his Prospectus, because this will reconcile the Churchmen, and will raise Hopes among such Dissenters as feel themselves internally galled by the weight of Orthodoxy, that Mr. Wi's System will lighten their burden, and allay the horrible temptation of becoming Unitarians. This alone explains the success of that monstrous piece of quackery, his DIVARICATION OF THE Gospels. The sale of several editions of such a book proves the eagerness with which a multitude of Spiritual slaves in England
en their burdehnt of Orthodoxers as feel themselveen, an
the teine pangert the rimand from tellus procesome of quietine
Mental Signs of the Times. catch at anything that gives the slightest hope of quieting their minds, though they remain internally professing whatever their respective churches demand from them.
These Signs of the Times are very important. They prove a sense of Danger to all Bodies of Men whose union depends upon the vain dreams of Church Theology. The Number of Proselytes which the Oxford Patristics are likely to make, cannot be considerable. Whatever these men may do, the mass of civilized mankind breathe in an atmosphere of mental freedom. The old Monsters of the Schools pine away, and must perish in such an atmosphere. On the other hand, the attempts to accommodate Theology and Philosophy, are the most effectual means to open the eyes of many to the utter impossibility of such a coalition. People who would not read any work written with the professed object of attacking Orthodoxy, are allured into a course of thinking which, in most cases, must make them cast off the yoke of their respective Priesthoods.
J. B. W.
ART. X.—THE TRANCE OF LAS CASAS.
FROM THE GERMAN OF J. J. ENGEL.
The name of Las Casas will ever shine the more brightly in the list of the most active benefactors of mankind, from its connexion with, and contrast to, those reckless men, who, in fifteen years, by torture, the rack, and slavery, destroyed a million of their innocent fellow creatures. This eloquent, enthusiastic, and unwearied advocate of the Indian tribes, oppressed by the burden of ninety years, now lay upon his death bed. Though his earnest desires had long since been treasured in his reward in Heaven, yet was the prospect of Eternity an awful thought. Las Casas was conscious of the purity of his heart, and the innocence of his life, he had stood in the presence of Kings, and trembled before no earthly ruler, but the majesty before whom he should now appear, was—God-Eternal Holiness and Righteousness. The daring eye of Rectitude, as well as the fearful glance of Guilt, must equally shrink before the Sun.
At the foot of the couch sat a worthy Priest, whose years were as many as his own, and whom similar virtues had filled with the tenderest love for Las Casas, which was mingled with wonder and reverence from the consciousness of his inferior strength. He moved not from the side of his friend, but sadly noted his encreasing silence and weakness, and spoke to him the words of hope, to raise it in his own heart. But the thoughts of the aged man were full of eternity, and he besought him to retire a little space, and leave him alone with his Maker. Las Casas lay and thought upon his past life; throughout he perceived errors and frailty, and now he saw them in their full size, with their consequences stretched wide before him—while each better deed seemed to him small, insignificant, and barren of the good fruit he had hoped for-a spring in the desert that lost itself in the sand without a green blade or blossom to adorn its banks. Penitent, dejected, and ashamed, he turned again in humble gratitude to God, and prayed fervently, “ Enter not into judgment against me, O Lord! Let me find mercy before thy throne, Father of all.”
The strength of the dying man sufficed not for these struggles of his soul. In vain did he endeavour to arouse himself. His eyes closed, and a deep slumber fell upon his exhausted frame. And suddenly it seemed to him as though the Stars of Heaven were beneath his feet, and he moved above the Clouds forwards in endless space. An awful darkness appeared in the Depths beyond, broken only by sudden waves of light from the Glory of God. The Host of heaven swept round about him; and traversed to and fro, the worlds beneath. His eyes were dazzled, and his spirit shaken within him, and suddenly an angel stood before him, with the deep earnest expression of a Judge upon his countenance-in his left hand he held a scroll, which he unrolled with his right. A death-like shudder ran through the trembling Las Casas, such as the Malefactor feels at the sight of the place of Execution, when the Immortal Spirit pronounced his name, and then withdrew from him all the high noble strength implanted in his soul, all the holy inclinations that had throbbed in his heart. The circumstances that had been favourable to his virtue vanished, and he felt that all good had come to him from God, that with himself was nought remaining save his errors and his sins.
The angel began to read his life, and he sought to 'recognize the errors of his youth, but they were not; the first tears of repentance had effaced them all. These tears were recorded, and with them every earnest struggle towards perfection, each grief over renewed failings—the silent triumph in fulfilled duty, the cherished feeling of self-denying virtue, and the noble victory over Sensuality, that rebel-spirit against God. Then the heart of the righteous man rose in hope, for though his failings were more in number than the sands of the Ocean, yet were his sincere endeavours the fulness thereof.
And as the years hastened on, and experience and reflection increased, the evils were fewer, and the good prevailed while his Soul grew in strength, as the practice of virtue added to his inclination and his power. Yet was his excellence wanting in the sight of God, and the spring of his noblest deeds was yet troubled from its source.
With powerful eloquence the Angel next spoke in higher tones, the youth was grown to manhood, and had stepped forth the champion of mankind in that land formerly the house of Peace and Bliss, now the Abode of Murder and Despair.
What Las Casas here endured, and yet more what he here performed, how he made every want of the Innocent his own, and how his whole Soul rose in Energy that was still active even in his old age-how his high courage in the feeling of his right bid defiance to the revenge of the powerful, while he pronounced a deep condemnation upon the murderous thirst for gold, and the religious fanaticism that smilingly looked on, while political wisdom forgot to punish-how he travelled to and fro over the Ocean's depths, unmindful of the Storm and the hidden Rock, first to carry his complaints to the foot of the throne, and then return to the Guiltless with the words of hope and consolation
-how he stood boldly before the proud Robber, the first lord of both lands, and caused his guilt to flash upon his affrighted soul, so that upon his sick bed, he seemed already to stand before the righteous Judge of all, and the unquenchable flames of Hell,-how Las Casas turned aside over the ruins of vanished hopes, and wept aloud to Heaven, but ever again with renewed strength and courage entered upon fresh projects and exertionshow every ray of Hope that shone upon the sufferers filled his heart with rapture; and as the last sank in dark eternal night, how, refusing all joy and consolation, he buried himself in deep solitude, for Earth was to him now but a weary prison-house, and his Soul panted for its release to Eternity : all these, his actions and his sufferings stood written before God in their full purity, excellence, and beauty.
As the Angel read on, a brighter and yet softer light glowed on the countenance of the aged Man; he breathed more freely, and his pure glance was the holy zeal for truth and right-when action was denied him, he had offered up his testimony and his tears, and these are of inestimable worth in Heaven.—But suddenly Las Casas stood with his eyes cast down, and dark and deep thoughts upon his countenance, for his heart was oppressed by the unblessed remembrance that he had grievously wronged one race to lighten the burdens of another. · His thoughts were upon Gambia and Senegal, and the inland regions of that country, where the constant wars of the treacherous barbarians sacrifice myriads upon myriads to the chains of the Europeans.
Among countless better, came at last this fearful deed, dark and frightful in its consequences, fruitful in blood and tearsa deed of Hell (the penitent old Man dreamed in the bitterness of his remorse). All the wailings of Innocence rose in remembrance before him, the unceasing mourning on the wide Ocean, and through the scattered Islands for the land of birth, then the sinking of dying strength, the affrighted start from the troubled slumber, as the lash recalled to unceasing labour, the groans of the struggling death-pang—the dead silence of subsequent despair. Horror seemed to annihilate Las Casas. He thought not now upon the Holy One—the All Righteous from whom no darkness can conceal, and no brightness of light secure-he thought alone
oking of as the lash pang-tb. Las Cas