Images de page

introduced into the parallel which he was in these conferences,” says Mohas given between the prophet Da- sheim, “that the spirit and character niel and Melancthon, in the first of Melancthon appeared in their book of his “ Epist. Select.” While true and genuine colours; and it was at Tubingen, likewise, Melancthon here that the votaries of Rome exdiligently studied the sacred scrip- hausted their efforts to gain over to tures, and always carried about with their party this piilar of reformation, him a Bible which he had received whose abilities and virtues added as a present from Reuchlin. By such a lustre to the protestant cause. holding this constantly in his band, This humane and gentle spirit was and frequently referring to it during apt to sink into a kind of yielding divine service, he excited a consider- softness under the influence of able degree of curiosity, as it was mild and generous treatment. And, much larger than a Prayer-book : accordingly, while his adversaries and those who envied, endeavoured soothed him with fair words and from this circumstance to excite pre- flattering promises, he seemed to judices against him, by insinuating, melt as they spoke, and, in soine that he spent his time at church in measure, to coinply with their dereading what was unbecoming the inands. But when they so far forgot place and occasion.

themselves as to make use of imperiThe precise year is not ascertain- ous language and menacing terms, ed in which Melancthon was brought then did Melancthon appear in a very to the saving knowledge of the truth, different light; then a spirit of intrebut some circumstances attending pidity, ardour and independence anithe important change which then mated all his words and actions, and passed upon his mind are well known he looked down with contempt on and have frequently been recorded. the threats of power, and the frowns When bis understanding was first of fortune, and the fear of death. illuminated by the Holy Spirit, and The truth is, that, in this great and he was led to see the divine glory good man, a soft and yielding tembeaming forth in the death of Christ per was joined with the most inviolaby which the great atonement for sin ble fidelity, and the most invincible was made, the all-sufficient ground attachment to the truth." of hope which it affords to the most As a 'specimen of Mr. Cox's style guilty of the human race, and how and manner in the work before us, illustriously all the perfections of we shall present our readers with his Deity harmonize in the salvation of delineation of the character of this sinners, it threw him into a kind of great and excellent man, premising rapture which continued for some that we have no where seen it so time. And when after a season he so ably and faithfully executed. far recovered from his abstraction

“In stating some of the excellent quaof mind as to resume his intercourse lities of Melancthon, his extreme Candour with the world, his first wish was to and Kindness must not be overlooked. make others partakers of his joy. In He was never known to asperse any one, the simplicity of his heart, he ima- either openly or by insinuation. Nothing gined that he had nothing to do in was further from his intentions than to order to produce their conversion, imjure another's character or reputation, but to lay before his unbelieving and if his own were attacked, no one acquaintance that evidence which could manifest a more exemplary pareached conviction to his own mind. ed to resentment by the misconduct of

tience. He not only could not be movRepeated efforts, however, served offenders, but did not relax in his benegreatly to abate his 'confidence, and volence or familiarity with them. No he was at length brought to confess dark suspicions pervaded his mind, no that " old Adam was too strong for malevolence or envy disturbed his placid young Melancthon.

spirit. The calm summer of his soul was When the flame which had been never beclouded or distracted with temkindled by Luther's opposition to the pestuous passions. church of Rome, began to abate, and

“ Melancthon was devoid of every recourse was had to the expedient of thing like deceit and dissimulation. There conferences between learned men se

were no reserves about him; all was lected from each party, Melancthon the same time, his manners were remark. REVIEW of cox's LIFE OF MELANCTHON. 207 which led him sometimes to express him- , make concessions of this description, self with a degree of inconsideration : Nothing is more foolish than to attempt and even when his intimate friends have the defence of folly. An ingenuous mind endeavoured to check his frankness from will acknowledge its mistakes, especialapprehension of what indeed not unfre-ly in subjects of a literary kind, and canquently happened, that his words would didly confess its weakness or negligence be invidiously misrepresented, such was in order that youth may learn from the his consciousness of entire purity of mo- example of others, to be more diligent in tive, that they could seldom or never suc- investigation and more careful in their ceed in rendering him cautious.

transparent, open, and honest, while at was frequently engaged in defending ably captivating. From this temper rethe cause of the Reformation. " It sulted a freeness in common conversation,

mode of study. I will not scruple there “He was possessed of an extraordinary fore to censure some things in this (the Memory, and maintained that tempe- first) edition of my own writings, and rance in eating and drinking, that equa- will not only recapitulate the course of nimity of mind, and those habits of reflec- my juvenile studies, but explain my tion which essentially conduce to the per- meaning in some public transactions, and fection of this faculty. He was also in- state why I issued certain theological quisitive and read much, but with pro- publications." per selection ; retaining not only the ge. “ Neither Melancthon's attachment neral strain of the discourse, but the very to literature, nor his multifarious engagewords of the writer. Nor were these ments in public seduced him from the merely lodged in his memory, for he was cultivation of domestic feelings, and the remarkable for the facility with which discharge of parental duties. His wife he could call into use whatever he knew. and children, ever dear to his heart, were The various kinds of information he not forgotten amidst the deepest abstracgained were so arranged in the different tions of study, or the greatest perplexity compartments of his great mental reposi- of engagement. The habits of studious tory, that he could at any time, and men have sometimes been represented as without difficulty find whatever he want. tending to disqualify them for the famied: for he had the power of recollecting liar intercourse of domestic or social life. as well as retaining knowledge. This It is often long before the clouds which qualification fitted him for controversy profound study gathers over the mind and made him peculiarly feared by his can be entirely chased away, even by opponents.

the cheering infuence of conviviality. • Such was his Modesty that he would | At the same time a great man never apnever deliver his opinion upon impor-pears greater than in descending from tant subjects without deliberation and the high station where public opinion or serious thought. He considered no time extraordinary genius has enthroned him misspent and no pains ill bestowed in to an approachable familiarity. . It is the search of Truth, and he was inces- then his friends will no longer censure santly occupied in examining for himself. his abstractions, nor his affectionate fa. Sophistry and every species of evasion in mily deprecate his fame. Melancthon argument excited his just abhorrence; may be appealed to as a pleasing illusseldom or never could it escape his penetration of this remark. A Frenchman trating eye, and whenever he detected it

one day, found him holding a book in no considerations could deter him from one hand and rocking his child's cradle expressing the most marked disapproba- with the other. Upon bis manifesting tiou. His own conceptions were clear, considerable surprize, Melancthon took his language perspicuous, and his inten- occasion from the incident to converse tions upright. There was such a tran- with his visitor on the duties of parents, sparency in the whole stream of his ar- and on the regard of heaven for little gument in public discourses or disputa- children in such a pious and affectiontions, that you could see to the very bot- ate manner, that his astonishment, tom of his motives and principles. was quickly transformed into admi.

“ He was kind to a fault; and so ex- ration. The fondness he cherished for ceedingly Humble, that in the common his own family extended to children concerns of life he was not ashamed to

in general. He possessed, in a very . stoop to menial offices if they were not eminent degree, the rare art of making base or dishonourable. Frequently he himself a captivating and instructive would put to shame the ill-humoured dis- companion to them. He descended with inclination of the lowest servants to dis- the most bappy ease to their level, procharge any part of their duty, by doing moted by his jocularity their little plea. it hiinself. The same happy combina- sures, and engaged with all his heart in tion of modesty and humility charac- their games and festivities. He would terized all his deportment, and in a very often exercise their ingenuity, by devisconspicuous manner influenced his pri- ing fictions and puzzles, and took great vate conduct, his public transactions, and delight in relating useful scraps of hishis various writings. It is not every tory or memorable tales.” author however conscious of the blemishes which may have disfigured his first

After reading such interesting anpublications, that would be willing to ccdotes concerning this extraordi



nary man as the foregoing, we are praising God for so early an admission to naturally prepared to hear from his that illustrious assembly; the thought of biographer that his mind was very which may well enkindle within us a desusceptible of the more amiable sen- sire to escape from our earthly imprisonsibilities of our nature ; and of the truth of this we need no other proof to recollect his capacity, his erudition,

“ Perhaps it increases your sorrow than the following admirable letter, his virtue ; and you fondly wish for the which Melancthon addressed to one charmiug company of such a son. But of his friends, to express his sympa- these very excellencies themselves ougbt thy with him under his affliction for to diminish your regrets, because you the loss of a beloved son.

know how they contributed to the good To John Pfefsinger, with affectionate

of many during the short period of his

mortal life, so that he was not a useless salutations.

incumbrance upon society. You wit“ God has implanted the principle of nessed the evidences of his thriving piety natural affection in mankind, for the don- in this world of trial, wbich were but ble purpose of strengthening the bonds the beginnings of celestial life, and provof human society, and teaching us to rea- ed that his departure hence was only a lize the ardour of his love to his own removal to the happy intercourse of heaSon and to us. He therefore approves

In fact, as often as you reflect the affection we cherish for our offspring, upon these qualities of your dear son, and the piety of our grief for their loss. you have reason to be thankful to God, Natural affection is peculiarly forcible who has shewn such kindness both to you in minds of a superior order; on which and to him, as to confer upon him the account, I doubt not, that the loss of your greatest of all favours: for a gratefulmind son-a son too not only possessed of the

will record mercies as well as crosses. most amiable dispositions, but of a mind It is becoming, therefore, as you well stored with literature, not only iil. know, to be resigned to the will of God clined by his very constitution to moral who requires us to moderate our griefs, habits, but under the constant influence and to believe that no real evil has beof true religion, and already engaged in fallen your son. Let these considerations a course of study in which his capacity afford you comfort and repress undue promised so much-the loss of such a son, anxiety. The minds of men are naturally

say, must affect you with the deepest influenced by examples, for it seems progrief. And be assured, I am not dispos- per that we should not refuse to endure ed to accuse you of weakness; on the the afflictions incident to others, and contrary, I acknowledge-I commend which must be sustained as the common your piety-I truly lament your personal law of our nature. How calamitous must bereavement and the public loss; for I the death of Abel have appeared to our am apprehensive that in these times the first parents, by the murder of whom churches will feel the want of teachers their future hopes in reference to the properly instructed. But you are well church seemed to be cut off in regard to aware that we are permitted to mourn, their own family, and how much greater though not immoderately. It is certain cause for sorrow attached to them, when that these events are under divine super- | the human race consisted of so small a intendance ; it becomes us, therefore, to number, than can belong to you, who manifest a due submission of mind to possess a surviving family, in which disGod, and quietly to resign ourselves to tinct evidences of piety may be traced ? his disposal in every season of adversity. They were doubly wounded by the death

“I will not advert to the physical of one son, and still more by the wickedcauses of death, for though naturally ex- ness of his impious brother. posed to various diseases, let us rather re- If when you are absent for a season gard the will of God in this dispensation, from your family, and placed at a disand not so much our own loss; ahd let us tance amongst persons uncongenial to realize the blessings which in being re- your taste, the hope of returning home moved from this affictive life and these alleviates your vexations ; so now you calamitous times he is called to share. may be stimulated to patience by the conIf we truly loved him, we shall rejoice sideration that in a little time you will in his happiness; and if we rightly un- again embrace your son in the delightful derstand Christian truth, we shall be disassembly of the skies, adorned with a posed to congratulate him upon the soci. more splendid distinction than any staety of the heavenly assembly, where he tion on earth can command, I mean with no longer drinks the streams of know- the GLORY OF God, and placed among ledge mingled and polluted as they are prophets, apostles, and the shining hosts in the present world, but enjoys free ac- of heaven, there to live for ever, enjoycess to the pure and infinite fountain of ing theyision of God, and the enrapturing wisdom, holds intercourse with the Son intercourse of Christ himself, the holy of God himself, the prophets and apostles, apostles and prophets. Let us constantly and with inexpressible delight joins in I look forward to this glorious efernity


209 during the whole of our troublesome pil- ous and neat, and the whole volume grimage as to the goal of our course ; and exhibits unquestionable proof of an let us bear with the greater fortitude our elegant and cultivated mind. He appresent afflictions because the race is pears to have formed his book upon short, and we are destined not to the fu- the model of Roscoe's Life of Lorengitive enjoyments of this life, but to the possessions of that blessed eternity in

zo de Medicis, with which it is not which we shall participate the wisdom altogether unconnected in subject, and righteousness of God.

and whether we regard its exterior “ But as you, my learned and pious appearance or its intrinsic value, friend, are well acquainted with these it need not shrink from a compatruths, I have written the more briefly; rison. We find fault with nothing and I pray God to invigortate both your but the portrait of Melancthon that body and mind. Farewell."

is prefixed to the volume: and that, To those of our readers who are though a fine engraving, must, if it at all conversant with either the Ec- exhibit any likeness of the original, clesiastical or Civil history of the completely confute the maxim that period of the Reformation, the cha- the counténace is the truest index of racter of Melancthon, must be so the mind. well known as to gupersede the ne

When Mr. Cox's work reaches a cessity of any particular delineation : second edition, which it cannot fail and such of them as have hitherto to do as soon as it shall become geknown little of him cannot fail to be nerally known, we frecomniend it to induced by the extracts we have now him tu cast an eye over the twenty, *made from Mr. Cox's book, to enter- sixth book of Thuanus's History of tain the most favourable sentiments his own time, towards the close of regarding it. Cotemporary with Lu- which he will find an interesting acther, and co-operating with him in count of Melancthon from the pen his opposition to the church of Rome, of that eminent writer ; an historian the biography of Melancthon be- who, to use the words of Bishop Burcomes inseparably connected with nett,“ though he lived and died in that of the great Reformer. If by the communion of the church of universal consent Luther excelled in Rome, yet has delivered things to personal courage, in decision of cha- posterity with suca candour and fairracter, and whatever else may be ness, that his authority is disputed by considered as constituting the for- none but those of his own party." titer in re; she suffrages of three Circumstances altogether unconnectcenturies have uniformly awarded ed with the writing of this article led to Melancthon the precedence in re- us very recently to look into De gard to extent of learning, acuteness Thou's volumes, and we were grati. of intellect, meekness, and gentleness fied in finding so handsome an Eulo. of manners, with every other amia- sy on the great man whose life forms ble quality which is essential to the the subject of Mr. Cox's book. suaviter in modo. When we read the life of Luther our admiration is excited at his zeal, his intrepidity, his A Sermon, preached at Leeds, April coolness, and personal bravery The

16, 1815, on occasion of the execunarrative of Melancthon involunta

tion of Mr. Joseph Blackburn, Alrily insinuates itself into our affec

torney at Law for Forgery: with tions, and we are compelled to love

details of conversations with him him. Indeed, Luther himself knew

during his imprisonment. By Ria

chard Winter Hamilton, Ministero and cheerfully admitted, his friend's superiority, both in capacity and eru

of Albion chapel, Leeds. 2nd. edit. dition.

London, Longman and Co. 1815. With regard to the manner in

pp. 64. Pr. is. which Mr. Čox has aquitted himself Op all the compositions that ever of the task that he undertook, we are came before us, under the title of a persuaded that no liberal mind will Sermon, this is unquestionably the deny him the praise of patient re- most singular. The circuinstances search, of judicious selection in re- which occasioned it, were of such gegard to his materials, or of correct- neral notoriety, and excited sich ness and impartiality in his state universal interest, that it is needless ments. His style is always perspicu. for us to recapitulate them. But the VOL. I.

2 E


singularity which attends the publica- 'extensive with its nature, and between tion, and to which we refer, does not God and the sinner, there yawns and arise either in whole or in part from stretches a chasm, that is equi-distant with the melancholy pature of the subject; the extremes of the divine complacency, nor yet from any thing peculiarly in and the divine wrath. Personifications teresting that transpired between the bowever rich their depictions and uncon

strained their latitude: Analogies however preacher and the unhappy man, the imposing the objects of parallel, and the forfeiture of whose life to tbe violat- medi

comparison can never expose ed laws of his country it records.-- the consequences of sin to the extent of It arises entirely from the style and fact, or the range of demonstration.manner of the composition, which is all that is infectious in disease, and restso extraordinary, that we once doubt- less in torment, cannot meet the maladies ed whether the whole range of the that waste the spiritual habit and wither English Language could furnish a pa- the rage, conceited in the sallies, and

the immortal hopes: All that is vielent in rallel to it; but, upon second thoughts, ghastly in the despair of madness cannot we do recollect a small volume very answer to the perverted faculties and much akin to it, which was publish- broken balance of an eternally conscious ed about, the middle of the last cen- mind. And its punishments must be too tury, under the title of “LEXIPHA- exquisite for the most august and vivid NES," the object of which was to ri- images to pourtray:—the process of jurisdicule the sesquipedalia verba--the prudence in the formation of its decision, high sounding terms, and pompous and infiction of its sanction cannot symperiods, of that Caliban of literature, bolize with the developement of our inthe late Dr. Johnson. To raise the ward character, and the adjudgment of

our eternal destiny: and though the elec laugh against the latter, some Grub. tric fires, and rarest essences of the sky street writer took the pains to select were blown to an ardor beyond the keenest from the Rambler, all the uncouth flame, it could not burn with the fury of and barbarous terms of Latin deriva- that indignation which shall devour the tion with which that work abounds; adversaries.” and stringing those together, as a The sentence which we have now boy does birds eggs, in the way of extracted, forms a part of the introfamiliar conversation on trifling sub- duction to the Sermon; and as our jects, the effect was ludicrous in the ablest masters of Rhetoric lay it extreme. We strongly suspect that down for' a rule that the exordium Mr. Richard Winter Hamilton must be always simple, and the preacher have met with this book in his boy- cool; so we find Mr. H. rising graish days; and, unhappily, mistaking dually as he proceeds in the discusfor excellent, what was only intended sion of his subject, and thus, agreefor burlesque, he has inade it the mo- able to the laws of poetry," the sound del of his own style! But to attempt becomes an echo to the sense.” The to give the reader any thing like an first thing that he undertakes to prove adequate verbal description of the from the words of the text is that curiosity of the thing is utterly vain; sin is of itself progressive ;'or, in the he must see with his own eyes, and simple style of the Psalmist, Ps. i. 1, hear with with his own ears in order The man who walketh in the counsel to judge aright; and that he may do of the ungodly soon comes to stand so, we shall lay before him almost at in the way of sinners, and at last sits random a few extracts from the Ser- in the seat of the scornful. But let inon, the text of which is, James i. us attend to the sublime illustration 15. - When lust hath conceived, it of Mr. Hamilton : bringeth forth sin,” &c. The reader “Those dispositions that disgrace the dowill, no doubt, recollect, that Paul tage, havein their master principle vitiated speaks of sin as being exceeding the youth, and marked the maturity ;-and sinful:”—but let him mark how it is any supposed contrarieties consist more described by the preacher in the Ser- in appearances than fact. Tho' different mon before 'us;

the signs thro' which the moral nature

passes; and different the aspects it asTo whatever is excellent in the divine sumes, as it travels the zodiac of life, yet character it stands opposed, and meets

it wheels upon one axis and sweeps forwith malignity, whatever there is of good. I laws of the mental economy, give decided

ward thro' one impulse. And thus the very pess-with fraud, whatever there is of justice-with ignorance, whatever there

evidence to the

process of sin. js of wisdom-with deception, whatever

Very fine to be sure, but is this there is of truth. Its efiects must be co-' prose or poetry?

« PrécédentContinuer »