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from its own constitution. The foundation of the miseries of the empire was laid in the adopted house of Augustus; and the inquiry into the early causes of its degradation and ruin, might perhaps stop at the character of Nero, the last of that fatal family. But, though the succession was broken, the same mischief continued. A few instances of virtue and vigour appeared in the persons of some succeeding emperors; but the real strength of the empire was secretly enfeebled. From the general weakness and wickedness which infected the government and the people, necessarily resulted the neglect and injury of the provinces. Plundered and tortured by the hand from which they had justly expected protection, they became the easier prey of the invader; and the common safety was exposed to continual and increasing dangers from the enemies of the empire. The rapine and cruelty of the governors were the true causes of the rebellion of the provinces; and the Goths and Vandals owed their easy possession of Gaul and Africa to the injustice and inhumanity of Rome. "Such facts as these," says our author,“ make us remember, with increased interest and admiration, the warning given by Juvenal to his country," a warning which, we trust, will ever be remembered by the governors of British provinces:

*Curandum imprimis, ne magna injuria

fiat

Fortibus et miseris. Tollas licet omne, quod

usquam est

Auri, atque argenti; scutum, gladiumque
relinques,
Et jacula, et galeam; spoliatis arma super-

sunt."

SAT. 8.

4

capital. The fate, however, of the ancient city could not be averted nor delayed; and the barbarians, who had long since made successful inroads into the distant parts of the empire, were now preparing to pour into Italy, and to seize upon Rome itself. From this observation Dr. Ireland proceeds to ascertain the situation, name, and origin of the Goths, and to point out some of those early successes, while the empire was yet pagan, which prepared the way for their final occupation of the West, under Alaric, in the year 410 of the Christian era. From this historical detail, the author draws the following important and instructive inferences. First, that the foundation of the public evils of Rome was clearly laid before the ministry of Christ began; whence it follows, that the Gospel is free from the charge brought against it by the pagans: it was not the cause of the overthrow of the empire. The principles of sound government were previously lost, and with them the proper support of government. "Such," says Dr. Ireland, "is the punishment which, in the Divine order of things, is commonly annexed to the violation of the rules of reason and virtue, in public as well as private life; and the numerous instances which have been adduced of the growing wickedness and weakness of Rome, and the gra dual and alarming successes of the barbarians against it, must convince us that there is a natural connection between vice and misfortune, a strong and unavoidable tendency of public profligacy to the loss of national power."

Secondly, in the same events may also be observed a judicial punishment acting for a more peculiar The transfer of the seat of empurpose. The Christian writers have pire from Rome to Byzantium, af piously acknowledged the just vi forded a rescue for one branch of sitation of Heaven on the intolerance the Roman power; and it is the just and persecuting rage of the pagan delight of the Christian writers to sovereigns. The last of the ten extol the felicity bestowed by Pro plagues directed against the cruelvidence on a foundation better and ties of Heathen Rome, was the pubmore pure than that of the pagan lic suppression of its beloved, but CHRIST, OBSERV. No. 110.

guilty, idolatry, the cause of all the evils which had been inflicted on the believers of the Gospel. Hence, too, in the third place, may be seen the general subserviency of the temporal power of Rome to the wants of the church of Christ. Its outward decline did not take place till the interests of the faith were, in some measure, secured; and it is the grateful observation of Orosius, that the very decay of the civil power wrought the increase of the church of Christ. When Rome at length fell, it submitted to an enemy, who, though imperfectly in structed in the faith, was the least hostile to it. Alaric was himself a professor of Christianity, and the protector of it in others. The civil polity had performed its temporary office, and was dissolved: the religion of Christ is eternal, and,

amidst the destruction of all other authority, the Gospel was yet respected and maintained.

The argument that the deities of pagan Rome were the authors of temporal happiness, and that the calamities which befel the empire in its later age were occasioned by the civil establishment of Christianity, has been thus refuted by an appeal to history. This, perhaps, might be deemed sufficient for the vindication of the Gospel. But the Christian writers, not content with this, laboured to expose the general inefficacy of the heathen worship. They ascended to the origin of the Roman deities, and proved them to have been equally helpless in Asia and in Italy. They had been twice vanquished at Troy, nor did they succeed better in protecting the establishments committed to their care after their arrival in Italy. Lavinium was soon forsaken for Alba, and Alba for Rome; while Rome herself repeatedly felt the desolating power of the Gauls. With this argument was connected another, which proved the superior sufferings of the pagans in a state of war. They had complained that the favour of Bellona was recently with

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drawn from them, and that the hostilities in which the empire now engaged were more destructive than before. This was well refuted by the Christian writers, by contrasting the influence of idolatry and the Gospel under the same circumstances, and by appealing to the merciful conduct of Alaric. Of this part of the literary warfare with idolatry, some striking specimens are given by Dr. Ireland, proving, in a most convincing manner, proof indeed were now wanting, the cruelty which has ever marked the history of paganism, and the superiority even of the fiercest Christian conquerors in mildness and compassion. Whoever," says our author, " peruses Procopius' account of the Gothic war, will meet with more instances of genuine mercy, continence, and generosity, on the part of the barbarians alone, than can be furnished by the entire military history of pagan Rome!" An elaborate refutation of another favourite notion of the pagans follows; that the Fate of the Romans was not more subservient to their temporal happiness than their gods; in which Dr. Ireland points out the uncertainty and contradiction which are to be found in all the systems of the heathens, concerning fate, providence, and the events of human life.

Still there were a few circumstances connected with the fall of the city, from which the vindictive disposition of heathenism drew a malignant satisfaction: and these are noticed by Dr. Ireland, chiefly for the sake of pointing out the sentiments of the early writers of the church, on one of the most important articles of our religion. There were two classes of persons who reasoned in this hostile manner; but of these we have room to mention one only. The idolater, unable to vindicate his own deities, whose helplessness was proved by so many convincing instances, retorted, with much appearance of triumph, that during the seige, and in the assault

of the city by the Goths, the Christian inhabitants had suffered together with the worshippers of the false gods. To these objectors it was replied, that the sufferings of the Christian are to him no cause of despondency, no proof either of the weakness or malevolence of the Deity whom he serves. Placed in Placed in this world as a candidate for greater happiness in another and eternal state, he makes his very trials conducive to this great object. They correct his errors, sober his passions, purify his heart, and tend to preserve him in the fear and favour of God. To the insulting question, therefore, "Where is thy God?" he is represented, by St. Augustine, as triumphantly replying, "My God, different in all his attributes from the false and impotent gods of the heathen, is to be found wherever his worshippers are. If I am carried into captivity, his consolations shall yet reach me; if I lose the posses gions of this life, my precious faith shall still supply their want; and if I die, not as the suffering heathen dies, by his own impatient and impious hand, but, in obedience to the will of God, my great reward begias; I shall enter upon a life which will never more be taken from me; and thenceforth all tears shall be wiped from my eyes."

Another circumstance occurred at this period which occasioned much discussion. In the tumult and distress which followed the Capture of the city, not only were many Christians slain, but the religious respect which the piety of the primitive believers paid to the dead bodies of the faithful could not be rendered; and from this privation, pagans drew an argument of additional insult, and inferred that the God of the Christians was indifferent to the protection of his followers, in death, as well as in life. Yet consolation was not wanting to believers, though the desired burial could not be procured. And this resulted from the pure and certain hope of the resurrection of the body

the

to eternal life. Much praise had, been bestowed on the sentiment of Lucan, in which he was preceded by Xenophon, that the soldiers of Pompey, who lay neglected in the plain of Pharsalia, and whose ashes wanted an urn, had the nobler vault of heaven for a covering. But "how superior is the privilege," exclaims the reverend and eloquent author, "of the Christian! Though his mortal part should remain unburied, though it should become the prey of beasts, or though its particles should be scattered through all the elements; yet he retains his sure and certain hope of the resurrection through Jesus Christ. He knows that God is faithful, who hath promised to restore him at the last day; and from the bosom of the earth, from the distant regions of the air, and the most distant recesses of all nature, shall his almighty power once more collect the parts so long dissevered. The man shall, in a moment of time, be formed anew, and substantially stand before his Maker, to receive the eternal reward of his faith and obedience." Dr. Ireland adds, on this interesting point, some animated passages from Tatian and Athenagoras, and here concludes the first part of his argument.

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By whom, then, he inquires, was empire conferred on the Romans? And to whom are to be attributed the evils which attended its progress? The first of these questions is thus ably answered by Tertullian. He is the dispenser of kingdoms, to whom belongs the world which is governed, and man himself who governs it. The changes of secular dominion which arise at different periods of time, are ordained by Him who was before all time: and the rise and fall of states must be referred to Him alone, who existed before human society began."-Yet not to him are we to ascribe the abuse of

power, and the unprincipled enlargement of dominion. These arise from the depravity of the will

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"But the time had been," says Dr. Ireland, "when the Romans were swayed by

better motives: and here occurs a distin guished sentiment of Augustin, with which I shall close this part of my subject.

"In the earlier ages of the state, before the love of unlimited power possessed the Romans, they had felt the spirit of true patriotism, and acted on genuine views of civil liberty,"—" while their private lives were free from offence against the laws, and governed by the rules of decency and temperance." These were civil virtues, and Providence, which is ever benevolent towards the faintest and most imperfect efforts on the side of goodness, bestowed on courage, disinterestedness, and patriotic principle, the characterstic reward of temporal pros: perity."

"Let not this animating thought," continues our author, " be lost to ourselves. The Roman virtues were of this world; and the consequence annexed to them was a dominion of this world. Verily, they have their reward.' We have calls to patriotism, which the pagans never knew; and on an authority superior to all their legislators, we have received those principles which are the foundation of private happiness, and public greatness. The power of Britain does not terminate in civil objects; it is connected with a loftier and more sacred purpose. We are the happy inhabitants of a country which exhibits the profession of the purest Christianity, in conjunction with the soundest of civil governments. Our patriotism, therefore, is exalted by our faith; and we may reasonably hope, that the divine blessing will descend in a larger degree, and in a more distinguished manner, on that public spirit which is sanctioned by true religion, and which, through the maintepance of empire, promotes the will of Hea

ven."

We wish that we could unconditionally assent to this spirited passage; and that its truth were altogether as unquestionable as its eloquence. With the sentiment expressed in the former part of it we

most cordially concur. We have indeed " calls to patriotism which the pagans never knew;" and h who is best acquainted with the in estimable blessings of a religious na ture with which Divine Providence has distinguished us, and who ha personally experienced the happi ness which they were intended to impart, will feel the flame of pa triotic love glow warmest in hi breast. We verily believe, tha our country carries within it the precious elements of all that is trul great, excellent, and holy; and tha they are destined, not only to pro mote our own superiority and hap piness, but to be eminently instru mental in diffusing the blessings o freedom and true religion through out the world. We cannot, how ever, as Dr. Ireland seems to do countrymen with the exercise o indiscriminately compliment ou that enlightened and sacred pa triotism, which is founded on the just appreciation of spiritual advan tages, and which, chiefly intent or forwarding our moral and religiou improvement as a nation, depend on this as the only well-grounded hope of the divine favour, and i really anxious, through the maintenance and enlargement of empire, to fulfil the purposes of Heaven. We rather fear that the general flame of patriotism is kindled and nourished at far other altars than those of the sanctuary; and we are jus tified by facts in believing, that our rulers have for the most part laboured to support and aggrandize our national power from far other motives than those of the maintenance and propagation of Christian truth. The annals of our country exhibit but few, and those feeble and im perfect, efforts to impart the religi ous blessings which we ourselves enjoy, to the myriads of idolaters whom the providence of God has placed under our dominion, or within the sphere of our influence. Of the truth of this assertion, India alone affords but too decisive and melancholy a proof; nor can we

view our Oriental empire with complacency, or dwell on our national prospects with hope, while so many in authority amongst us continue to manifest, not only so criminal an indifference, but so marked an hostility to every plan which has hitherto been proposed towards emancipating the Hindoos from the fetters of ignorance, superstition, and sin. Could we perceive any general disposition, in those who are at the bead of public affairs, to promote such objects as these, our hopes of success, in the great struggle which we are maintaining in Europe, would grow brighter, and we could more reasonably indulge the delightful expectation, that to us is assigned the honourable task of sig nally contributing to the advance ment of the kingdom of Christ amongst men. We hail, however, with exultation, the appearance of such a spirit in the extensive and increasing patronage which attends the British and Foreign Bible Society; nor is there any view in which we more seriously deplore the partial opposition which it has lately experienced, than in the check which such an opposition is calculated to give to the diffusion of the Gospel. We fervently pray, that this unhallowed contention may speedily cease; and that both parLies may, at no distant period, vie with each other, only in the benevolent, the sacred, and the zealous labour of promoting most effecually the knowledge and the practice of true religion.

We have so far extended our remarks on the first part of Dr. Ire, land's valuable work, that we must defer the consideration of the second to our next number.

(To be continued.)

several interesting extracts from the life of Cardinal Wolsey; a man of great talents, and, in some respects, of a noble and generous mind. But his better qualities were all debased by an ambition which knew no bounds, and by a spirit of arrogance which is almost without example. If succeeding ages have paid any respect to the memory of this man, it is chiefly because their sympathy has been awakened by the history of his fall, He was a bigot and a persecutor; yet even upon his mind affliction seems at last to have produced a salutary effect; and the narrative of his latter days compels us to part with him, at least in charity, if not with regret.

The life of Sir Thomas More, contained in these volumes, is now published for the first time, and introduces to our acquaintance another victim of Henry VIII. Like Wolsey, he rose to honour and distinction; and, like him, he sunk into disgrace. But he possessed a mind which prosperity could not corrupt, nor adversity humble. The fear of God, though accompanied with many imperfections of judg ment, appears to have been his ruling principle, and the testimony of a good conscience his high reward.

Under any circumstances, Sir Thomas More must have been a remarkable character. The solidity of his talents, the equanimity of his temper, and the playfulness of his wit, could not fail to mark him out as a being of a superior order. But his most striking excellence is the constant and habitual regard which he paid to the duties of religion. Hence it was that the vicis situdes of life seemed to pass over him without any impression of discontent; and whether we view him in his office of chancellor, or follow

WORDSWORTH's Ecclesiastical Bio- him to his chamber in the Tower,

graphy.

(Concluded from p. 51.)

Is car last number, we selected

his mind is unmoved, and his conscience perfectly at rest.

As our wish is to leave the bio

grapher to tell his own tale, we

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