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been surpassed, and scarcely equalled, in the Fars of controversy. He steadily follows up his antagonist, and never fails to dislodge him from his positions. Various as are the topics which come under discussion, he appears at home in all, and displays a familiarity with metaphysics, natural history, and philosophy, altogether wonderful in a person coming fresh from the field of classical criticism. His ancient learning is introduced in a happy and agreeable manner, when he compares the theories of modern sceptics with those of the heathen philosophers. The followers of Hobbes having had recourse to metaphysical refinements, in order to deprive the Divine nature of its essential attributes, as well as to establish theories of materialism, Bentley encounters them on their own ground; and by examining the question upon the system recently promulgated by Locke, in his “Essay on the Human Understanding,' exposes the inconsistencies of which they are guilty, when they represent an infinite and eternal Godhead as a corporeal essence, and give to mere matter the faculty of thinking. He agrees with that philosopher in holding, that the notion of a Deity is not innate, but seeks the proofs of His existence and attributes from the operations of the human mind, from the organization of animal nature, and from the stracture of the inanimate creation; and while he continually reduces his opponents to an absurdity, he establishes his own positions with the closeness and severity of mathematical demonstration."
Here it becomes us to admire the sovereign providence of God, who raised up and associated three most eminent men to stem the torrent of atheism in England. First of these was Boyle, a father of natural science in this country, whose name would have been perpetuated throughout the civilized world, if he had done no more than write his works on hydrostatics and pneumatics, exemplifying his theory in the improvement of the air-pump. He was the first chemist of his time. His work “On the high Veneration Man's Intellect owes to God,” is valued highly to this day, and probably will be for ages yet to come. He expended no less than a thousand pounds every year in works of benevolence, but chiefly in the propagation of Christianity. He was the chief originator of the Royal Society; and throughout his whole career was no less known as a Christian than as a philosopher. Second of them was Sir Isaac Newton, of whom it is enough to quote a few words from his own pen, in a letter to Bentley :-"When I wrote my Treatise about our system, I had an eye upon such principles as might work, with considering men, for the belief of a Deity; and nothing can rejoice me more than to find it useful for that purpose.” The third was Bentley. From the lectures and writings of Newton he imbibed those views and became strengthened in those arguments which, in the first of the Boyle Lectures, he wielded with so great power; and, in the preparation of them, he consulted Newton in an active correspondence. The combined labours of these men, however, were but as the raising of a voice in the wilderness, to prepare for the approach of some one having a higher mission. Not only at the commencement of Christianity, but again and again in times of its revival, there have been intellectual precursors of evangelists coming in the fulness of spiritual power. The Oxford Methodists arose to do a greater work. Bentley's first lectures were printed; but a second course, delivered in 1694, a defence of Christianity against infidels, never appeared in type. Perhaps conscious that it was less original, less truly the labour of his own mind, he could never be induced, not even by Tenison himself, to give it to the world.
The life of Bentley henceforth assumed a character very different from what might have been expected by those who knew him as an advocate of revealed religion, and champion of Christianity. To the study of theology he never seriously applied himself, but gave his whole mind to Greek, to verbal criticism and the investigation of curious and recondite points of language and passages of history. It matters little to know that he had an angry controversy with Boyle, son of the eminent man just mentioned, concerning certain epistles attributed to Phalaris, tyrant of Agrigentum, the same that used to roast men alive in a brazen bull. A little more interesting, perhaps, may be the note that he discovered vestiges of the obsolete digamma in the verses of Homer. The classical student, indeed, may be gratified with an account of his minutely learned labours; but such an account should be read leisurably, and at length, as Dr. Monk details them in a thick and beautiful quarto volume.
With the year 1700 began Bentley's Mastership of Trinity College, Cambridge. That College bad risen into high repute; and perhaps nothing more need be said to convey a just idea of its merit, than that it furnished ne fewer than six out of the fifteen scholars appointed in all the University to assist in the translation of the Bible. But the College had rapidly declined in every respect. Learning and discipline were nearly lost.
“For these evils no better remedy could have been devised than the appointment of a Master, possessed of talents, energy, and reputation; and this was the sole motive for the arrangement, which placed Bentley at the head of Trinity College. The measure was so well intended, and so honourable to its authors, that it is painful to find it not productive of all the good effects which they contemplated. But in making this selection, some material circumstances appear to have been overlooked. Bentley had no previous conneotion with the College which he was sent to govern; he was himself educated in another and a rival Society; and, not having resided at Cambridge since he reached manhood, he was unacquainted with the business, as well as feelings, of the place, and destitute of all the peculiar information which the Head of a College ought to possess. Far from cherishing that attachment to his Society, which is generally observed to overcome all other feelings among the Governors of our Colleges, Bentley regarded with contempt the Fellows over whom he was to preside; and the preferment itself he seems to have valued chiefly on aocount of its income, and as a step in the ladder of advancement. On the other hand, his appointment was unpopular in the Society, to whom he was known only by his reputation as a critic and controversialist, and who were chagrined at not seeing one of their own College placed at their head. Besides overlooking these circumstances, his patrons were not aware that there were certain defects in his character which made him a person not to be safely trusted with authority. Hitherto the reader has seen him pass clear and unsullied through no common ordeal, and put to shame the attacks of jealous and envious adversaries: in the remainder of his history there will be found much to regret, and much to condemn."
He introduced many regulations, that have been continued up to the present time, but he did so on his own absolute authority, straining the statutes in justification of his wholesome yet offensive tyranny, and even breaking through the letter where he fancied that, by so doing, he should fulfil the spirit. Yet, until his conduct rendered that impossible, he might have carried all the authorities with him by courtesy, kindness, and generosity. buildings were dilapidated, and he repaired them; but this was done by outwitting the Seniors, whom he entangled in difficulties, plunged into debt, and then laughed at their embarrassment. His government became insufferably vexatious; and, to extricate himself from the perplexity of universal dislike, he did what greater despots often do,he courted the juniors, and sued the many, to overpower the elder and the few. When his acts were disputed, he oondescended to quibble and prevaricate, if intimidation failed to silence the opponents. He even became sordid, and forgot what was due to the dignity of his office in exacting money from the students under various pretences, more or less founded on statute, custom, or prerogative. At length he became involved in litigations with personal enemies, with the whole College, and with the Bishop of Ely, whom he impeded in the exercise of his duty as Visitor. With a keenness that might be admired, if it were but honest, he baffled every antagonist, and surmounted the consequences of every defeat. The College deprived him of his degrees, and he ceased, for five years, to be acknowledged as a Doctor of Divinity; but he prosecuted the College, and won back his honours. He vas formally degraded, but he kept his place, fastened on some informalities in the proceedings taken against him, and actually overcame the whole. Opposition died out. Bentley, after a life spent in controversy and litigation, more than seventy years of age, found himself Master of Trinity still; feared, gazed on with awful reverence, as a being of too much energy and cunning to be vanquished, yet never seeking nor deserving to be loved. Even then, as though strife were necessary to keep him alive, he coolly entered on a lawsuit on some very trifling account.
Pope, an intellectual dwarf in comparison with Bentley, endeavoured to hold up the latter to ridicule ; but a paragraph in one of Mr. Wesley's Sermons is immeasurably more worthy of reading than the dull attempt at sarcasm by the rhythmist of the Dunciad. We note, however, that Bentley died soon after completing his eightieth year, July 14th, 1742.
“As the minor particulars of the lives of great men are objects of curiosity, it is recorded that Bentley enjoyed smoking tobacco with his constant companion ; a practice which he only began in old age. He is stated also to have been an admirer of good Port wine, while he thought contemptuously of Claret, which, he said, would be Port if it could.' He generally wore, while sitting in his study, a hat with an enormous brim, as a shade to protect his eyes; and he affected more than ever a fashion of addressing his familiars with the singular pronouns thou and thee."
The passage in Wesley's hundredth Sermon, above referred to, is as follows:
“Next to cruelty, malice, and similar tempers, with the words and actions that naturally spring therefrom, nothing is more disgustful, not only to persons of sense and religion, but even to the generality of men, than pride, haughtiness of spirit, and its genuine fruits, an assuming, arrogant, overbearing behaviour, Even uncommon learning, joined with shining talents, will not make amends for this; but a man of eminent endowments, if he be eminently haughty, will be despised by many, and disliked by all. Of this the famous Master of Trinity College, in Cambridge, was a remarkable instance. How few persons of his time had a stronger understanding, or deeper learning, than Dr.