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• "The speech against the Marquis of Headfort must be well reported; it is prodigiously vigorous and brilliant, with a great deal, at the same time, of art and dexterity in giving effect to the topics.
The greatest part of the very long speech in the case of Judge Johnson is a laborious and dry law argument, but ever and anon the orator and the wit will break out ; and there are some very fine passages.
The last article in the volume is a short speech pronounced by Mr. C. in the capacity of Master of the Rolls, on a trial before him on a will which had been thought invalid for the popish tendency of its bequests. This speech has an uncommon degree of compression and elegance as well as force of expression.
The word elegance reminds us that we should somewhere have remarked that the orator often violates good taste in his allusions and figures, especially in the way of degrading nobler objects by taking them in analogy with mean ones for the sake of some one point of resemblance, when their greater dissimilarity as elevated and mean, should have kept them asunder. Art. VI. Studies in History; containing the History of Rome, from
its earliest Records to the Death of Constantine ; in a Series of Essays, accompanied with Reflections, References to Original Am. thorities and Historical Questions. By Thomas Morell, Vol. II. 8vo. pp. xii. 442. Price 10s. 6d. St. Neots, 1815. LIVERY man who is not an infidel, must deeply lament
that history, which is so decidedly necessary for forming the basis of a liberal education, has too often been the medium of instilling sentiments hostile to Christianity ; but he will be at the same time convinced, that to counteract the baneful in. fluence of such writings, is a task, the difficulty and delicacy of which are proportioned to its importance. Many of those historians who unhappily rank among the hostile party, were men of distinguished learning and eloquence: their reputation is universally established. An injudicious writer, therefore, on the Christian side, may be the occasion of injury to the cause he advocates. Mr. Morell, certainly, is not this injudicious friend, but we think he is capable of rendering more -effectual assistance against the common enemy, than the nature of the plan he has adopted, seems to promise.
Mr. Morell's former volume, containing the History of Greece, has been for some time before the public, and we are glad to learn that the reception which it has met with, has been of a pature to encourage the Author to persevere in his undertaking, He refers, in the Advertisement to the present
volume, to the objections to which his plan is liable, and informs, us, that ' a larger proportion of narrative has been in
troduced into this portion of his work. It should seem that he is not aware of any other plan for combining religious truth with historical narrative, that would be compatible with that distinctness and continuity which ought to be preserved by the historian, and he is of opinion that the introduction of religious sentiment into the history itself,' would lead to an ' uphallowed mixture of things sacred and profane, equally of
fensive to genuine piety and true taste.'
We must be allowed, however, to doubt the validity of the grounds on which Mr. M. rests his preference of the plan he has adopted; while at 'the same time, we are ready to admit that, as class-books for young persons, these volumes, may in their present form, possess advantages, which we hope will recommend them to a general use in schools..
But were we asked, how is history to be made the vehicle of moral and religious instruction, the reply is obvious : by the same means as it has been made to serve the purpose of infidelity. Why do we scruple to put Hume into the hands of children? Not because he gives us at the end of each - chapter a string of deistical maxims, but because the whole
is tinged with anti-Christian principles : not because he snatches · every possible opportunity to expatiate on the folly of being a Christian, but because he so draws the character, that the reader would not hesitate, were he implicitly to follow the historian, to make the decision bimself; because he insinuates without asserting, and instils without enforcing infidelity. Here then are both bane and antidute. Christian historians should adopt the policy of their adversaries. It cannot be objected that the plan is insufficient, for if so, all fears for the effect of the opponent's principles are groundless; and if 4“ truth is mighty and will prevail,” the advantage is surely on the side of religion. What we recommend, is, the continual influence of a pervading mind congenial to scriptural dictates. Let every judgement of events, every estimate of character, be determined by this whispering spirit; and let its sentiments be so interwoven with the whole narration, as to seem a part of its essence. This, surely, is not impossible; we do not desire to be absolutely told in so many words, what actions or motives are to be praised or blamed, or how all things depend on the Governor of the Universe; but every
thing may be presented with a certain colouring, or exhibited ; by reflection in its consequences, so that the moral instruction
may be conveyed, and that too rather by example, than in the · more questionable shape of precept. We imagine that by such I means as this, the excellence of the history, considered as a
quentated; with more fer, not themseminality
narration, would be unimpaired, and the aversion too fres: quently felt by youth to formal lessons of morality, would be obviated; while the desired end of instilling virtuous sentiments, would be with more certainty accomplished.
We must, however, not withhold our commendation from our Author's “ Reflections” themselves. They contain, indeed, little depth of observation, or originality of remark; but this, considering that they are designed for youth, to whom all things are as yet new, is not a reasonable objection ; and as they are far less tedious than we feared they would be, when we anticipated ceaseless changes rung on "we should,” and " let us therefore," we think them highly deserving praise. The history likewise will be read with great pleasure. The original authors seem to have been well understood, and a judicious selection has been made from the facts recorded by each. Mr. M. needs only a hint that luxuriance of style is very apt to degenerate into affectation. But it is time to introduce our Author in his own person.
We shall extract for the notice of our readers, the account of Constantine's conversion to Christianity, his character, and the “ reflections” on them. Speaking of the battle between Maxentius and Constantine, Mr. M. says,
This battle is rendered memorable by the supposed conversion of Constantine to the Christian faith. The statement of this remarkable occurrence which has been made by Eusebius, a cotemporary historian, who affirms that he received it from the Emperor himself, is to the following effect. As Constantine was marching at the head of his army into Italy, to encounter Maxentius, full of solicitude about the issue of the contest, he retired to implore protection of the God of the Christians. Scarcely were these private devotions ended, when he observed in the heavens a splendid appearance, which resembled a cross, with this inscription in Greek characters, * Conquer by this,” All the augurs and pagan priests attached to his camp agreed to pronounce it an inauspicious omen, and were greatly terrified by it, but on the mind of Constantine it produced a far different impression. He was led by it to solicit the instruction of several Christian pastors; who explained to him more fully the doctrines and evidences of their religion, by which he professed him. self so fully convinced, that from that time he renounced the worship of idols, and avowed himself a Christian. ' A banner was thenceforward displayed in his army, emblazoned with an emblem and inscription similar to that which had led to this important change in his sentiments. On entering the city of Rome after the defeat and death of Maxentius, he rejected all the homage and applause of the multitude, pointing to this standard, as representing that by which alone he had obtained the victory. When his own statue was afterwards erected in the capital, be caused an emblematical representtation of the cross to be introduced, with this inscription, “By the
influence of this victorious cross, Constantine has delivered Rome from tyranny, and restored to the Senate and people their ancient glory.” p. 396. ..
It is painful to be under the necessity of stating that the latter years of Constantine were characterized by a series of arbitrary and oppréssive measures. The most credible witnesses have attested, that he 'put to death the Empress Fausta his wife, Crispus one of his sons, and Lieịnius his nephew, besides many distinguished senators, on the slightest suspicion. Though the most extravagant terms were employed by his flatterers, both before and after his decease, to describe his exemplary piety, and Christian zeal, there is too much reason to believe that with him Christianity was rather & matter of state-policy, than an operative principle; that his opipions were cootinually vacillating, and his conduct in many instarces grossly inconsistent with his profession. He did not submit -to Christian baptism, till he became hopeless of recovery from the disease in which he died, in the thirty-second year of his reign.'p. 400.
· The following are the corresponding Reflections. :: On the reality of Constantine's conversion it is not our province to determine; but multitudes of facts might be collected to justify the assertion, that those impressions are very suspicious, to say the least, and often prove most fallacious, which are made by dreams and visions, and phantoms of the imagination. How far a rational and scriptural conviction of the truth and excellency of the Christian religion, might be afterwards produced in the mind of this heathen Emperor, by the perusal of the word of God, and the instructions of the pious men whom he consulted, we cannot determine; but the story of the blazing cross, and the use of this symbol as a military standard, savours more of the anti-christian and fanatical spirit in which the crusades originated, than of the 6 words of truth and soberness," which the Holy Ghost teacheth. The religious character of this prince would have been contemplated by sincere Christians with far greater pleasure, if instead of displaying his zealand piety by instituting fasts and festivals, ceremonies and rites, which Christ has not ordained, he had “shewn out of a good conversation, his works with meekness and wisdom." Christian charity, however, which“ hopeth even against hope, should teach us to attribute many of these inconsistencies of character to the shades of superstition which still beclouded his mind, and from which his spiritual guides themselves were by no means exempt; whilst they cannot be considered as forming the least excuse for the doctrinal or practical errors of those, who are placed in more favoured circumstances, and possess means of knowing the way of God more perfectly.” pp. 404, 5.
Art. VII. Memoirs of the Abbé Edgeworth : containing his AC· count of the Death of Louis the Sixteenth. By Henry Sneyd
Edgeworth. cr. 8vo. pp: 224. price 7s. Hunter. 1815. THESE:Memoirs consist chiefly of three or four letters of
the Abbé, and his account of the execution of Louis the
Sixteenth. Exclusive of what relates to the King's pedigree, they containl itt!e information that was not long since known by all who have either read or heard of the French revolution. . Art. VIII. The Weekly Monitor; A Series of Essays on Moral and
Religious Subjects By a Layman. 12mo. 1815. THE Weekly Monitor was originally published in an Ame
rican Newspaper, but no reader will regret that it is now reprinted in a more permanent form. A great part of the work consists of quotations from English Divines, and it breathes throughout a spirit of genuine devotion. Upon the whole, however, it is a more favourable specimen of AngloAmeric in piety than of erudition. Art. · IX. The best and most effectual Method of Preaching Christ.
A Discourse, preached before the Half-Yearly Association of the Hampshire Independent Churches, Sept. 20, 1815, at Newport, Isle of Wight. By T. Durant, Poole. 8vo. pp. 31. Price
is. Conder. 1815. -- AMONG the important advantages derived from county
and other associations of Dissepting Ministers, we may reckon the opportunities which their half-yearly meetings afford, of employing the talents of the various preachers in diffusing theological knowledge, and exciting among their brethren a spirit of enlightened zeal and holy philanthropy."
Hampshire has long maintained a distinguished eminence in this respect, and many valuable sermons have been published at the request of the Independent Association in that district. · The subject of Mr. Durant's Discourse, is of the highest importance to the interests of true religion, and at the present moment it is peculiarly seasonable. We are indeed taught by Apostolic example, to rejoice if Christ be preached, though the spirit and the manner of preaching Him be justly censurable. Under these circumstances, however, our rejoicing cannot be free from feelings of regret. We must deplore the sad ad-' mixture of human sinfulness and infirmity, and grieve that the best cause, through the injudicious and unworthy zeal of its advocates, should be doomed to suffer misrepresentation and reproach. An enlightened, holy, and powerful ministry, is one of the greatest blessings that can enrich the Christian Church. It is the best security against error and a spirit of delusion; it annihilates seetarian prejudices where they exist; and keeps them at a happy distance where they have never been indulged. By its mighty operation, good principles are widely diffused and luminously displayed in the cansistent and blameless deportment of those who are brought under their influence,