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'20th.—O God, bless us all through the evils of this day. Amen.
B. R, Haydon.
"Stretch me no longer on this rough world."—Lear.
End of Twenty-sixth Volume.'—Vol. iii. pp. 317,318.
It was ascertained that immediately after this closing entry, he had committed the act of self-destruction, using for the purpose both pistol and razor. His wife and daughter heard the report of fire-arms, but took no alarm, believing the sound to come from the troops then exercising. An hour after, his daughter entered his room to find him stretched out dead, 'his white hairs dabbled in blood,' before his unfinished picture of 'Alfred and the First British Jury.'
There was a paper of ' last thoughts, but too expressive of the prevailing evil of his life,' a false estimate of his position. Wellington and Napoleon had been the great men of his day; he had chosen to regard himself as on a kind of level with them, and maintains the comparison to the last:—
'Last thoughts of B. R. Haydon, half-past ten.
'No man shall use certain evil for probable good, however great the object. Evil is the prerogative of the Deity.
'I create good,—I create,—I the Lord do these things.
'Wellington never used evil if the good was not certain. Napoleon had no such scruples, and I fear the glitter of his genius rather dazzled me; but had I been encouraged, nothing but good would have come from me, because when encouraged 1 paid every body. God forgive the evil for the sake of the good. Amen.'
'Besides this paper was another, his will, as follows :—
'In the name of Jesus Christ our Saviour, in the efficacy of whose atonement 1 firmly and conscientiously believe, I make my last will this day, June 22d, 1846, being clear in my intellect, and decided in my resolution of purpose.'—Vol. iii. p. 319.
That the jury were justified in taking a different view of his sanity may be a matter of question; but the difficulty was a real one; 'clear in his intellect,' he might be, of 'sound mind' he certainly was not; nor can we wonder they should gladly avail themselves of the distinction, and return a verdict of insanity. It must not be omitted, that Sir Robert Peel, whose kindness was amongst the last events recorded by this unhappy man, continued this kindness after his death, by affording liberal and immediate assistance to the bereaved widow and children.
There is little need to moralize on such a termination of such a career. Never did a life and death more distinctly convey their own moral.
Our readers may in the outset have wondered what claim a name so little known can now have on public attention; and few, probably, have first held these three close and full volumes without falling into similar reflections. We do not think that any one can lay them down, after an attentive perusal, without thanking the editor for placing this singular history of a mind before the world, and acknowledging that his task is both well performed, and one of no ordinary usefulness. And this, not chiefly for the mass of anecdote, and the great variety of general as well as particular information which the work contains— though, in this aspect, it stands in favourable contrast with the many meagre biographies with which the press teems—but these do not constitute the peculiar merit of the book, which consists in its true, graphic, forcible, grotesque, and yet awful picture of a mind of no common power, wrecked and stranded for the one error of an extravagant vanity. Probably, each generation as it passes pronounces this self-esteem a crying sin of the day. It may then be only conveying an echo from this age to the next to say, that it is a crying sin of our own time; but it is true nevertheless; and we feel as if many things now tended to promote the evil—more than we have space to enumerate. If, then, it is the province of biography, as it is commonly written, to set forth the trials and ultimate success of genius, and to encourage others in the same path by the persuasions of a brilliant example, we would suggest that it may be a no less important part of its duties sometimes to take a different turn,— to show, as in this vigorous sketch, what dangers may lurk in ambition and arrogance, even when justified by superior powers, and how utterly waste and fatal these very powers may become to their possessors if pride takes the direction of them, and strains after impossible things. What a fatal and degrading possession, indeed, all intellectual gifts may become, if not governed by modesty and discretion, a rational estimate of self, and an habitual submission to the Divine will!
Art. IV.—A Treatise on Biblical Criticism, exhibiting a Systematic View of that Science. By Samuel Davidson, D.D. of the University of Halle, and LL.D. Edinburgh: Black. 1852.
Biblical criticism is regarded by many, perhaps by most, to whom the term is familiar, as embracing philological treatment of the text of Scripture of every kind; everything, in fact, that lies beyond the range of the unlearned. This extended use of the term, though in itself admissible, has served to render less distinct, and to rob of its due prominence, one department to which the title has not unfrequently been rigidly restricted; namely, that which is occupied with the determination, by a critical use of all means at command, of the precise verbal form which it is most reasonable to assign to every passage of the canonical books, that is the subject of conflicting readings, or; as it has been distinctively entitled, textual criticism.
It is at once evident that, thus limited, biblical criticism, when standing in its own proper place, is preliminary to the tasks of the commentator and translator; a place which it has not always been allowed to occupy. One need not travel far in the realm of annotation to find instances of praiseworthy labour, which would have been unnecessary, or have received a different direction, but for an ignorance or disregard of certain circumstances affecting the text itself; instances of encounter with difficulties produced by false readings; of comment piled upon a spurious clause. Some knowledge, too, of the facts and results, at least, of the science, is necessary to any one who handles Scripture in discussion or controversy; otherwise, he may use with unwitting confidence citations which involve a reading either altogether untenable, or so far questionable, as to possess no real polemical force, and may thereby incur, in retort, a charge of discreditable ignorance, or of disingenuousness. That a case of this kind is not imaginary, a very moderate experience in such matters is sufficient to show.
That, with this close limitation, biblical criticism is still no narrow subject, is at once clear, from the fact that, in the present instance, it is the sole occupation of two well-filled octavos. We have, however, been more particularly led to call attention to them on the ground that supply is generally an index of demand; and as venturing, therefore, to regard a laboured work as a token of a more widely spread and deeply felt interest in
NO. LXXXII.—N.8. C C
the Bubject itself; one which, it may also be remembered, lias been deemed by many worthy of the main labour of a laborious life, from our countrymen, Mill and Kennicott, down to the recently departed Lachmann and Scholz.
The present work is, in a manner, a novelty; not that the matters therein comprised are themselves new; they have been severally treated in books of various title and object, with more or less fulness* and in a manner more or less satisfactory; but they are here disengaged from extraneous association, and brought together as parts of that subject under which they properly range themselves. We should mention that it is the production of an English Nonconformist, already known more especially by his Introduction to the New Testament, and is dedicated to the Bishop of St. David's. The two volumes are assigned to the Old Testament and the New respectively. We shall confine our notice mainly to the latter; for the two portions correspond in arrangement and, mutatis mutandis, in matter, and a conception of one will thus, to a certain extent, embrace the other.
After a preliminary chapter, containing a sketch of the origin and distinctive features of the language of the New Testament, the author enters on the history of the text itself till the middle of the third century, as far as patristic sources afford the scattered materials. This includes a specification and examination of the charges of falsification made by the Fathers, during that period, against various heretics. That the latter were to some extent guilty, is clear enough; the author's opinion seems to be, that they were more guilty than successful in mischief.
'In whatever way the falsifications of the New Testament test on the part of the earliest heretics be viewed, the departure from the true reading that flowed from the source in question into MSS. generally, must have been inconsiderable. Some wilful corruptions made by Marcion did certainly getinto various copies, but they never obtained an extensive footing. The orthodox church was awake to the importance of preserving their holy writings from the contamination of heretical hands, and prevented any material falsification. The heretics were comparatively few, and did not possess sufficient influence, even had they been so disposed, to corrupt the records extensively. The catholic Christians, scattered as they were through many lands, opposed a barrier to radical alterations.'
The continuation of the history of the text leads to a detail of the different schemes for the classification of MSS. devised by modern critics as preliminary to their operations; those, namely, of Griesbach, Hug, Eichorn, Michaelis, Nolan, Scholz, Rinck, and Tischendorf. This detail might, perhaps, perplex and dishearten such as have not attained a fair grasp of the subject; we will, therefore, make a few remarks which may serve to clear and cheer the prospect.
If a person were studying the New Testament with some attention to various readings, but without any knowledge of the history and character of their documentary evidence beyond the bare circumstance of certain letters and numbers being conventionally used to designate different MSS., he would hardly fail to observe that, on occurrence of two readings, one of which was more accordant with ordinary grammatical construction, or exhibited greater propriety and ease of expression than its rival, the citations of authorities for the former class of readings would show a continual recurrence of letters and numbers; a recurrence serving ultimately to mark off, by a common feature, a certain section from the entire mass of documents. By this simple and unbiassed process alone, a twofold division of the whole might be nearly, if not definitely made, notwithstanding peculiar features possessed by one or two individuals; in fact, that main separation would be well-nigh made out, which other considerations, internal and external, conspire to establish.
Now, the readings of the opposite complexion to those which have been just specified, might have been produced by an exposure of the text, in certain quarters, to circumstances unfavourable to purity of style; that is, they might possibly be, in respect of mere language, readings of deterioration. A knowledge, however, of the actual history and circumstances of the body of documents which exhibit them, forbids this supposition; it follows, then, that this distinctive aspect of the section first marked off is the result of meddlings, or, in other words, consists in readings of officious improvement. This section has been and may still be named the Alexandrine class; the other is the Byzantine or Constantinopolitan.
The internal characteristic just described is one main fact which affects the Alexandrine class; there is another, which is external, namely, that of existing documents it happens to possess several that are unquestionably the oldest, and, indeed, a majority of that portion of the whole which may be distinctively termed ancient. A recognition of these two facts, and of the way in which they respectively bear upon the other class, is, we are convinced, the only ground of sound, criticism of the text, as far as MSS. are concerned. But the uncritical error of critics who have recognised classes, has been to allow the influence of a kind of partizanship, and to act, sometimes avowedly, on a sweeping prepossession of an absolute superiority of one class above the other; and this has been one cause, at least, why no text has hitherto been formed that has obtained an assent, as a whole, answerable to the labour and learning expended upon it. The truth is, that each has its stronger and weaker points of evidence; and, towards the settlement of a text, they must be allowed to