« السابقةمتابعة »
in quest of a missionary or teacher for some foreign field, they uniformly pass over all this class of persons, and fix upon such as, with equal piety, are not distinguished for such habits; when we see how close is the relation between this cataleptic element in a church or community, leading to a consequent aspiring after it as the highest religious attainment, and the rankest religious fanaticism, we cannot repress the sentiment that leading members of the Church, and especially ministers, should not encourage it among the people. Let the latter, on the contrary, aim so to address themselves to the conscience, the understanding, the will, the rational and Scriptural hopes and fears of the masses, that with the promised aid of the Spirit, the character of the piety of the Church may be rather intelligent and deep, a matter of conviction and of principle, than of physical excitement, emotion, and mere feeling. A piety based upon the former, and distinguished by those features of character, has in it, after all, more of power as well as permanence. And for the best of all reasons, that it first forms and then distinguishes a class of mind expanded by culture and consolidated by conviction; and as “ knowledge is power,” this class must and will exert vastly more influence upon the world than that class ever did or can wield which is distinguished for the opposite qualities. A religion, not of impulse, not one which is fitful, narrow, or unstable in its character or tendency, but one which is elevating, expansive, reflecting, active, and permanent, at an equal remove from latitudinarianism and bigotry, is the want of the age. Such a religion, with all the appliances and agencies at her command, the Church is bound to supply. The world is waiting to receive the boon at her hand. Let us not be misunderstood. We do not countenance, much less advocate the doctrine that the Church should be limited to a sort of intellectual, educated, much less a monied aristocracy; or that religion should be a mere intellectual but frigid thing, without warmth, life, or sensibility. Nothing is further from our judgment, taste, or desire. On the contrary, let the intelligent, the enlightened, the fervent, the solid be duly combined. Let religion be a matter of conviction, of rule, of practice, of principle, as well as of feeling. And wherever it is of this type and spirit, unless we greatly misjudge, like a river whose source is exhaustless, whose channel is deep, whose volume is large, and whose current is steady and strong, unbroken by rapids or cataract, the tone of such piety will be of a much higher average as to emotion, ardency, and propellant stimulus to Christian activity, than when the whole picture is reversed. There may be less of the impulsive and fitful, but more of the substantial, reliable, efficient, and influential.
3. Nor can we find a solitary example of religious catalepsy recorded in the Old or New Testament. Not one in which at the same time there was a total suppression of the mental consciousness and muscular activity. Could one such instance be shown, it would present the question in a different aspect, and modify our own views at least respecting the philosophy of the whole matter. Could a solitary example be adduced from the patriarchs, prophets, Christ, or the apostles, an example evinced by a clear and judicious interpretation of such passage, we would yield to none in according to it the most deferential consideration. Such an example we believe cannot be produced; or if one such can be shown from the primitive Church, it would deserve serious attention. But if no such instance can be produced from Scripture history or the primitive Church, and this peculiar affection is only a feature incident to religious exercises in occasional times and places in the modern ages of the Church, then our convictions would be confirmed that it should be regarded as an accompaniment of the work of grace, to be viewed rather as a blemish than an ornament, and which, if encouraged, will prove a greater detriment than advantage to the cause of Christ and the honor of his kingdom.
4. In conclusion we beg leave to emphasize the remark, that we would neither sit in judgment upon, nor condemn any one for being a subject of the affection, the philosophy of which we have discussed. We make it no test of a sound conversion or of genuine personal piety. We are seldom in the least“ tried” in witnessing such phenomena. We simply apply what we suppose to be the true principle of analysis, and resolve the whole matter upon the theory which we have imperfectly developed. We are aware how much allowance must be made for the diversity of temperament, taste, education, and mental habits and character, in religion. This should prompt us to exercise that large but discriminate charity which "hopeth all things." In fine, we sum up all with the prophet: "What is the chaff to the wheat ?"
ART. V.--THE LIFE OF SIR JAMES MACKINTOSH.
Memoirs of the Life of the Right Honorable Sir James Mackintosh. Edited by his
Son, ROBERT JAMES MACKINTOSH, Esq., Fellow of New College, Oxford. Two
volumes, pp. 499, 524. Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1854. JAMES MACKINTOSH was born in Scotland, October 24, 1765. His native town was Aldourie, on the banks of the Loch Ness, county of Inverness. At the age of ten he was sent to school at a small town called Fortrose. Having much of his time at his own command, he was little disposed to regular habits of study. He was, however, a great reader, but read without method or regularity. Occasionally he made an attempt at writing poetry, at which he was not altogether unsuccessful. Before he was thirteen he avowed himself a Whig in politics, and talked with enthusiastic feelings on the exciting political topics of the day. These irregularities he much regretted in after life. He painfully felt that no subsequent effort could atone for that invaluable habit of vigorous and methodical industry which the indulgence and irregularity of his school-life prevented him from acquiring.” However, his school days were not entirely lost to him. The books he read belonged to the more substantial department of English literature. Some of them, being treatises upon abstruse metaphysical subjects, we suspect had much to do in directing his mind to those philosophical inquiries which afterward rendered him so eminent. He left Fortrose, having acquired the rudiments of an English education, and able very imperfectly to construe some portions of the classics.
In October, 1780, young Mackintosh entered King's College, Aberdeen. During his first winter here he read several elaborate works in addition to his regular studies. Among these were Priestley's Institutes of Natural and Revealed Religion, Beattie's Essay on Truth, and Warburton's Divine Legation; works certainly recondite and elaborate enough for a lad of fifteen. He refers to the latter when he says: “It delighted me more than any book I had yet read, and which, perhaps, tainted my mind with a fondness for the twilight of historical hypothesis, but which certainly inspired me with that passion for investigating the history of opinions which has influenced my reading through life.”
At Aberdeen Mackintosh is described by one of his fellow-students as having been the center of all that was elegant and refined, by general acclaim, installed inter studiosos facile princeps. He was familiarly designated “the poet,” or “ poet Mackintosh,” and in connection with Robert Hall was the principal attraction of the literary club. It was at Aberdeen that Hall and Mackintosh first met. As their intimacy then had a controlling influence in directing their pathway to future eminence, it deserves special notice. Dr. Gregory, in his beautiful memoirs of Hall, has given us a graphic description of their peculiarities and mutual pursuits :
“ Their tastes at the cominencement of their intercourse were widely different, and upon most of the topics of inquiry there was no congeniality of sentiment; yet, notwithstanding this, the substratum of their minds seemed to be of the same cast, and upon this Sir James thought the edifice of their mutual regard first rested. They read together, they sat together at lectures if possible, they walked together. In their joint studies they read much of Xenophon and Herodotus, and more of Plato, and so well was all this known, exciting admiration in some, in others envy, that it was not unusual, as they went along, for their school-fellows to point at them, and say, There go Plato and Herodotus. But the arena in which they most frequently met was that of morals and metaphysics. After having sharpened their Weapons by reading, they often repaired to the spacious sands upon the seashore, and still more frequently to the picturesque scenery on the banks of the Don, above the old town,
to discuss with eagerness the various subjects to which their attention had been directed. There was scarcely an important position in Berkeley's Minute Philosopher, in Butler's Analogy, or in Edwards on the Will, over which they had not debated with the utmost intensity. Night after night, nay month after month, for two sessions, they met only to study or dispute, yet no unkindly feeling ensued."
From these discussions Sir James declared that he learned more in regard to principles than from all the books he ever read. Hall, on the other hand, “reiterated his persuasion that his friend possessed an intellect more analogous to that of Bacon than any other person of modern times."
He passed through the regular course at King's College, and took his degree in the arts, 1784. The time had now come when he must choose a profession. He writes :
My own inclination was toward the Scotch bar. But my father's fortune was thought too small for me to venture on so uncertain a pursuit. To a relation, from London, then in the Highlands, I expressed my wish to become a bookseller in the capital, conceiving that no paradise could surpass the life spent among books, and diversified by the society of men of genius. My cousin, a son of earth,' knew no difference between a bookseller and a tallow-chandler, except in the amount of annual profits. He astonished me by the information that a creditable bookseller, like any other considerable dealer, required a capital that I had no means of commanding, and that he seldom was at leisure to peruse any book but his ledger. Our deliberations terminated in the choice of physic, and I set out for Edinburgh to begin my studies in October, 1784.” Vol. i, pp. 20, 21.
This choice, we may presume, was submitted to with no inconsid. erable reluctance. The study and practice of medicine seemed to promise little congenial to his taste :
“To the natural sciences connected with the study of medicine, he had always shown indifference, if not dislike. The slow results of experiment, the minute investigations of nature, the deductions of the positive sciences, had no charm for him; mind and its operations, man and his thoughts, actions and interests, and the inquiries connected with them, were the objects of his unwearied and delighted study.” Vol. i., p. 46.
Consequently one is not surprised to learn that he occasionally exhibited youthful impatience at the restraints of academic discipline, and that “his inclination for desultory reading and speculation” so greatly absorbed his mind, that he was familiarly called an "honorary member of the classes."
One thing, however, at Edinburgh, was entirely congenial to his taste, as it was certainly adapted to produce a thrilling effect on those powers which distinguished him so much at Aberdeen. We refer to the deep-toned literary feeling prevalent there. Edinburgh was crowded at this time with eminent men. Every department of literature and science had its representative. Men pre-eminent in knowledge, with minds polished and expanded by books and scholastic discipline, had diffused an elegance of manners, and given refinement to thought. A spirit of ambition was equally diffused among the students. In such society, amid competition and ardent aspirations for fame, a spirit of indolence was marked with infamy.
Having accomplished his medical course he quitted Edinburgh in the month of September, 1787, "with a store of knowledge more varied and comprehensive than methodically arranged, or concentrated on professional objects, but with aroused energies and youthful confidence in the future.”
The next spring he visited London for the purpose of acquiring practice. He entered the metropolis little suspecting how easily he was to be allured from the ostensible object of his visit. Society in England, as well as on the continent, was already heaving with the coming storm of the French Revolution. Questions of liberty and reform were discussed wherever men met together, and the public mind was wrought up to the highest pitch of excitement. The profound and elegant works of Montesquieu, in connection with the productions of Rousseau and Voltaire, had prepared the way for this devoted period, while the revolt of the American colonies, and the financial bankruptcy of France, accelerated the movements of gathering clouds.
In addition to the generally exciting state of society, there was one special event calculated to arrest the attention of an ambitious youth. The trial of Warren Hastings had just begun. Day after day a dense throng crowded the seats and avenues of WestminsterHall. Burke and Sheridan, at that time two master spirits of the