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the ignorant, in which class the bulk of the people, I am afraid, every where, are to be comprehended, there are two measures by which they always estimate the value of what is said. The meaning is none of their measures, for of that they are no judges; but the only two are, the quan. tity of what the speaker says, and the noise he makes in saying it. However much, in those respects, you exceed others, the hearers will put the whole surplus, to the credit of your greater zeal and greater abilities, Every preacher should endeavour to speak so as to be heard, otherwise he speaks to no purpose ; but if he would be idolized by the multitude, he must stun them with his din. .: They are not nice in the powers of distinguishing; and therefore readily conclude, that it must be strong sense, that makes a strong impression on their organs. pp. 192-194. . . We cannot too earnestly recommend these lectures to the attention of those of every party, who are just beginning to. exercise the pastoral office, or who ‘inay be preparing for it. Some things in them, indeed, are more particularly applicable to ministers of the Scottish Kirk; but they contain so much. judicious and scriptural counsel, so many wise and useful observations, together with salutary rules and maxims, respecting the behaviour of the Christian teacher, that it must be of signal advantage for persons, entering into that order, to pea, ruse them with seriousness and self-application. Their res.. pectability, and comfort, and usefulness, will all depend in a. great measure upon their behaviour;-and as they cannot expect in a college or academy to derive from observation lessons for the conduct of life, we would advise them, by all means, to study these lectures. Art. X. The Lives of John Selden, Esq. and Archbishop Usher; with
Notices of the Principal English Men of Letters with whom they were connected. " By John Aikin, M. D. 8vo. pp. 443. Price 10s. 61.
Matthews and Leigh. '1812. AS mental exertion is the kind of toil regarded with the **'most dread and aversion by mankind, whi.it is, nevertheless, indispensable to their welfare that a pro; rtion of men. be induced to undergo it; and as, also, there is among the . generality of even tolerably cultivated persons, a very low , estimate of both what may and what should be effected in this department; there cannot be a too frequent exhibition of the most memorable examples of successful mental industry. The vexation with which we should confidently hope that, in some hundreds of instances, a book like this will be read, and really we are afraid, 'as to those who can read such a book without vexation, that, to the greater number of them, it will not be of much use to read at all, either this or other books, )—this vexation will be a proof of the utility of such works. The quiescence and self-complacency of lazy spirits, yet pretend-. ing perhaps to somewhat of faculty and of attaininent, have
A within stimulation by praconferred one on
some little chance of being beneficially disturbed by such an exhibition : while mien of some real exertion and acquire ment are taught by force, that a great deal is yet to be done to bring them to even the middle point between the perfectly vulgar state of the human mind, with respect to exertion and intellectual wealth, and the state exemplified at the upper extreme of mental cultivation. And therefore, though Selden and Usher had not, by their studies and writings, done one particle of good directly, they would have conferred indirectly an inestimable benefit on society, by practically furnishing such an admonitory and stimulating illustration, of what can be accomplished within the short space of human life. i ! It is still better when, from the circumstances of the pe riod and place in which the distinguished persons liveil, the record of their lives' must necessarily bring again into view, and in some degree into discussion, subjects of very great importance to the present and to all times :—it is so much the better, provided, we mean, that the writer of this record is a person of such extensive information, sound sense, and candour, and such a temperate lover of liberty, and yet zea. lous enemy, to tyranny of all sorts, as the author of this vo. Fume. The times' of Selden and Usher, and the transactions in which they were, to a considerable extent, actively or passively concerned, should often be brought back to the view of Englishmen, as supplying a grand practical commen. tary on both the slavish principles at present so prevalent, and those violently extreme ones into which the ardent friends of freedom are always in danger of being carried, by the recoil of antipathy.
The undertaking of this perforinance was a very natural consequence of a previous employment of the Author.
· The composition of this volume has been the result of a work in which I was some time ago engageda translation of the Memoirs of the learned Huet. Having thought it expedient to elucidate that piece with an introductory view of the general state of literature at the period whence bis career commenced, I was necessarily led to cast an eye upon that of our own country; and the cursory survey I took of it gave me an interest in the subject which urged me to further enquiry. On tracing backwards the history of English erudition, I soon came to two names which seemed to form an era, previously to which our contributions to the stock of criti. cal literature were comparatively in considerable; whilst those names themselves were annexed to writings quoted and applauded by the most eminent conteniporary scholars in Europe. These were Selden and Usher, men whose celebrity (that of the former, especially,) was not confined to mere authorship; but who acted important parts in the church and state at à period of extraordinary interest in English history. I was therefore induced carefully to examine the extant narratives of their lives, together with the biographical documents afforded by their own writings; and
this research convinced me that a clear and unprejudiced account of the services they'rendered to letters, and of the conduct they pursued in the momentous transactions of their time, might suill be rendered worthy of the public notice.'
The Introduction contains an extremely rapid, but clear sketch of the history of English literature, from the reign of Henry VIII. down to the period when Selden and Usher rais, ed the literary character of the country to the level of the continental nations, some of which had made a very considerable progress, while England had remained comparatively barbarous. Dr. A. observes,
The returning dawn of polite and critical literature which broke out with so much splendour upon the horizon of Italy and other countries on the continent, shed at its commencement only'a faint light upon this island, remote as it was from the usual track of scholars, and little provided with helps and encouragements to learning. A general communication, indeed, between the members of the clerical order was preserved by means of the court of Rome, through the extent of that religion of which it was the centre; and the cultivation of the Latin tongue, as a necessary medium of intercourse for the transaction of public affairs, and as a common language for the purposes of science, was never intermitted in any Euro. pean country advanced beyond a state of barbarism. But Grecian literature spread slowly from those regions which first received it after its expulsion from Constantinople, and those profound researches into antiquity which were the base of improved philology, could advantageously be carried on only in countries affording the aid of well furnished libraries and cabinets, and rich in the relics of former ages.'
We will attempt a very brief abstract of each of these well. ; written memoirs, which are themselves very compressed, and are very moderate in taking privilege for reflection and dissertation. John Selden was born in Sussex in 1584, received his early education at the free-school of Chichester, and was equal to the composition of a Latin distich at the age of ten. This first literary exhibition, however, was not indicative of his vocation, to which nothing could well bear less resemblance than the making of verses. He early commenced the study of law, at the inns of court:' but the bent of his genius rather inclined him to closet researches into the history and antiquities of the law, than to the practice of it, as a pleader. Wood affirms that "he seldom or never appeared at the bar, but sometimes gave chamber counsel, and was good at conveyancing.".. This inclination was doubtless fos tered by the friendship which he cultivated with such men as Camden, Spelman, and Cotton, with whom he became connected on setting out in life.'. While quite a youth he wrote a work on English antiquities ; from the preface to which Dr. A. quotes a most uncouth and pedantic sentence as a speci
men of his Latin style, which, though afterwards much improved, never attained classical simplicity or grace. 'A tract which he wrote a few years later, on “ Single Combat," fur. nishes a sample of his English style, which we transcribe.
« Reader, I open not a fence-school, nor shall you here learn the skill of an encounter, nor advantageously in the lists to traverse your ground. Historical tradition of use, and succinct description of ceremony, are my ends; both deduced from the ancients, but without proselenick affectation.” After some more sentences, interlarded with learning, he concludes, “ Best of the supreme aspects bestow their rays on you." p. 7.
About the age of thirty," he gave to the public his largest English work, and that which affords the most copious, display of his profound research into the history and antiquities of his own and other modern countries ; this was his treatise on Titles of Honour.' Three years later appeared his work De Dirs Syris, which placed him at once in the rank of the first scholars of the age, and introduced him to the men of letters throughout Europe. Its primary purpose was to treat of the false deities mentioned in the Old Testament, but with this he joined an enquiry into the Syrian idolatry in general, and occasional illustrations of the ancient theology of other heathen nations.', si's ; qu 'orini ri, ijinirinn n ,'!!.
By his next work, the History of Tythes, published in 1618, he exposed himself,' says Dr. A. to a contest with the powers that be"-a contest always formidable to those whose only weapons are pen and ink, and whose only alternative becomes apology or patient endurance.'
The clergy, naturally solicitous to render their maintenance as 'secure as possible, had not been content to rest it upon the sense the laity might entertain of the ucility of their profession, and the reasonableness of an adequate remuneration for their services, but had endeavoured to implicate their claims with the sanctity of a religious obligation. They had therefore advanced the doctrine of the divine right of tythes, as inherited by the Christian priesthood from the Jewish, and derived to the latter from the patriarchal ages. This doctrine had been maintained by several - English divines, and was beginning to be regarded as fundamental to the establishment of a national church.'. 4 ;...
Though it is presumed that Selden, like the other lawyers of his time, was an enemy to this doctrine, his book was not written with any avowed intention of controverting it; he ina sisted that he had written and intended purely and exclusively a history; and that, without at all touching the question, or designedly invalidating any evidence, of the divine right, he had made an ampler contribution towards a proof of the legal right than all other writers. The very rumour, however, of his work excited alarm; and its appearance caused a complaint of the clergy to his Majesty, previously, as it seems, to any trial of
the effect of argumentative censure, the point of, precedence being given to the most efficient critic and polemic. The author was summoned into the presence, held two learned conferences with his Majesty, and had begun to fáttér himself that his explanations and his respectful humble deportment had pacified the royal displeasure, wheat he received a citation to appear before some members of the High Commission court, where he was reduced to’make and subscribe a humble and unfeigted protestation of grief, and deprecation of anger, on account of the publication and tendency of the obnoxious book. There are various circumstances in his life to prove, that he was very considerably below the level, in point of intrepid in Alexibility, of many of the distinguished men of his time: but' we will quote the biographer's and Hume's observations, to'shiew bolt far the defect of honesty and resolution may in this instance be extenuated.”
• Before this eminent person is censured for want of firmness on this trying occasion, candour requires us to cast a view on the terrific powers, with which the court of High Commission, established by Elizabeth, and then subsisting in all its vigour, was invested. “The Commissioners," says Hume, Eliz. ch. iv. “ were empowered to visit and reform all errors, heresies, 'schisms, in a word, to regulate all opinions, as well as to punish all breach of uniformity in the exercise of public worship. They were directed to make enquiry, not onlg by the legal methods of juries and witnesses, but by all ocher means and ways that they could devise; that is, by the rack, by torture, by inquisition, by imprisonment. Where they found reason to suspect any person they might administer to him an oath called ex officio, by which he was bound to answer all questions. The fines which they levied were discretionary, and often occasioned the total ruin of the offender, contrary to the established laws of the kingdom. The imprisonment to which they condemned any delinquent was limited by no rule but their own pleasure.". To confront a judicature thus armed required no ordinary share of fortitude; and Selden seems to have thought that he did all that the cause of truth could demand by'avoiding any direct retraction of his opinion, or any acknowledgement of error in his statement of facts," After several more exculpatory observations, Dr. A. adds] In all instances in which the arm of power is applied to for takibg a contro. versy out of the proper jurisdiction of argument, and intimidating one of the parties, they who employ such unfair means are primarily chargeable with the deviations from truth and integrity which may be the result. .
· The book was prohibited: and while all had full liberty to write whatever they pleased against it, and did write with virulence, the author was forbidden to write in its defence. He himself affirms that at an audience of the king, at the time when Montagu 'was preparing his Confutation of the History of Tythes, his Majesty sternly forbade him to make any reply, using these words : “ If you or any of your friends shall write against this confutation, I will thrów you into prison :"...ba