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But if the Conservative party have willed it otherwise; if their • compact-alliance' can only be preserved by converting all questions into Church Questions ; if they prefer a strong division at night to the consciousness of a good action which will outlive the morning ;—then it behoves the honest and intelligent people of England to exert their own powers for the advancement of their internal interests. While rendering to the Church the things which belong to the Church, let them resist, like freemen, the encroaching usurpation which seeks to place the clergy of the Establishment in possession of the exclusive right of conducting education. Let the people of England consider that, on this question, their moral, their civil, and their religious freedom depends. No cajolery to the Wesleyans-no hypocritical compliments to the Dissenters-should close their eyes to the consequences of introducing into our schools an ecclesiastical tyranny of the worst description. Should this attempt succeed, our civil and religious rights will both be placed in peril; and therefore our resistance to these claims becomes a sacred duty.
If the state of parties does not admit of the introduction of a good system of National Education, we call upon the people of England to provide it at any cost and sacrifice for themselves. We address them in the words of an eloquent writer: You cannot without guilt and disgrace stop where you are. The past and the present call on you to advance. Your nature is too great to be crushed; you were not created what you are, * merely to toil, eat, drink, and sleep, like inferior animals. No
power in society, no hardship in your condition, can keep you • down in knowledge, power, virtue, or influence, but by your own consent. Do not be lolled to sleep by the flatteries you hear. You have many great deficiencies to be remedied; and the remedy lies not in the ballot-box, not in the exercise of your political powers, but in the faithful education of yourselves and of
ART. VII.-The Practical Works of Richard Baxter, with a
Preface, giving some Account of the Author, and of this Edition of his Practical Works; and an Essay on his Genius, Works, and Times. 4 vols. 8vo. London : 1838.
THE nas publication reminds us of an oversight in omitting to no
tice the collection of the works of Richard Baxter, edited in the year 1830, by Mr Orme. It was, in legal phrase, a demand for judgment, in the appeal of the great Nonconformist 10 the ultimale tribunal of posterily, from the censures of his own age, on himself and his writings. We think that the decision was substantially right, and that, on the whole, it must be affirmed. Right it was, beyond all doubt, in so far as it assigned to him an elevated rank amongst those, who, taking the spiritual improvement of mankind for their province, have found there at once the motive and the reward for labours beneath which, unless sustained by that boly impulse, the utmost powers of our frail nalure must have prematurely fainted.
About the time wben the high-born guests of Whitehall were: celebrating the nuptial revels of Elizabeth and the Elector Palatine, and the visiters of low degree were defraying the cost by the purchase of titles and monopolies, there was living at the pleasant village of Eaton Constantine, between the Wrekin Hill and the Severn, a substantial yeoman, incurious alike about the politics of the empire and the wants of the exchequer. Yet was he not without bis vexations. On the green before his door, a Maypole, bung with garlands, allured the retiring congregation to dance out the Sunday afternoon to the sound of fife and labret, while he, intent on the study of the sacred volume, was greeted with no better names than Puritan, Precisian, and Hypocrite, If he bent bis steps to the parish church, venerable as it was, and picturesque, in contempt of all styles and orders of architecture, bis case was not much mended. The aged and purblind incumbent executed his weekly task with the aid of strange associates. One of them laid aside the flail, and another the thimble, to mount the reading desk. To these succeeded the excellentest stage player in all the country, and a good gamester, and a good fellow. This worthy having received Holy Orders, forged the like for a neighbour's son, who, on the strength of that title, officiated in the pulpit and at the altar. Next in this goodly list came an attorney's clerk, who had · tippled himself into so great poverty,' that he had no other way to live but by assuming the pastoral care of the flock at Eaton Constantine.
Time out of mind, the curate had been ex-officio the depositary of the secular, as well as of the sacred literature of the parish ; and to these learned persons our yeoman was therefore sain to commit the education of his only son and namesake, Richard Baxter.
Such, from his tenth to his sixteenth year, were the teachers of the most voluminous theological writer in the English language. Of that period of his lise, the only incidents which can now be ascertained are, that his love of apples was inordinate, and that, on the subject of robbing orchards, he held, in practice at least, the doctrines handed down amongst schoolboys by an unbroken tradition. Almost as barren is the only extant record of the three remaining years of his pupilage. They were spent at the endowed school at Wroxeter, which he quitted at the age of nineteen, destitute of all mathematical and physical scienceignorant of Hebrew -a mere smatterer in Greek, and possessed of as much Latin as enabled him in after life to use it with reckless facility. Yet, a mind so prolific, and which yielded such early fruits, could not advance to manhood without much welldirected culture. The Bible which lay on his father's table, formed the whole of the good man's library, and would have been ill exchanged for the treasures of the Vatican. He had been no stranger to the cares, nor indeed to the disorders of lise; and, as his strength declined, it was his delight to inculcate on his inquisitive boy the lessons which inspired wisdom teaches most persuasively, when illustrated by dear-bought experience, and enforced by parental love. For the mental infirmities of the son, no better discipline could have been found. A pyrrhonist of nature's making, his threescore years and ten might have been exhausted in a fruitless struggle to adjudicate between antagonist theories, if his mind had not thus been subjugated to the supreme authority of Holy Writ, by an influence coeval with the first dawn of reason, and associated indissolubly with his earliest and most enduring affections. It is neither the wise nor the good by whom the patrimony of opinion is most lightly regarded. Such is the condition of our existence, that beyond the precincts of abstract science, we must take much for granted, if we would make any advance in knowledge, or live to any useful end. Our hereditary prepossessions must not only precede our acquired judgments, but must conduct us to them. To begin by questioning every thing, is to end by answering nothing ; and a premature revolt from human authority is but an incipient rebellion against conscience, reason, and truth. Launched into the ocean of speculative enquiry, without the anchorage of parental instruction and filial reverence, Baxter would have been drawn by
his constitutional tendencies into that sceptical philosophy, through the long annals of which no single name is to be found 10 which the gratitude of mankind has been yielded, or is justly due. He had much in common with the most eminent doctors of that school the animal frame, characterised by sluggish appetites, languid passions, and great nervous energy; the intellectual nature distinguished by subtlety to seize distinctions more than by wit to detect analogies; by the power to dive, instead of the faculty to soar; by skill to analyze subjective truths, rather than by ability to combine them with each other and with objective realities. But what was wanting in his sensitive, and deficient in his intellectual structure, was balanced and corrected by the spiritual elevation of his mind. If not enamoured of the beautiful, nor conversant with the ideal, nor able to grasp the comprehensive and the abstract, he enjoyed that clear mental vision which attends on moral purity--the rectitude of judgment which rewards the subjection of the will to the reason--the loftiness of thought awakened by habitual communion with the source of light--and the earnest stability of purpose inseparable from the predominance of the social above the selfish affections. Scepticism and devotion were the conflicting elements of his internal life; but the radiance from above gradually dispersed the vapours from beneath, and through half a century of pain, and strife, and agitation, he enjoyed that settled tranquillity which no efforts merely intellectual can attain, nor any speculative doubts destroy,--the peace, of which it is said, that it passes understanding.
Baxter was born in 1615, and consequently attained his early manhood amidst events ominous of approaching revolutions. Deep and latent as are the ultimate causes of the continued existence of Episcopacy in England, nothing can be less recondite than the human agency employed in working out that result. Nursed by the Tudors, adopted by the Stuarts, and wedded in her youth to a powerful aristocracy, the Anglican Church retains the indelible stamp of these early alliances. To the great, the learned, and the worldly wise, it has for three centuries afforded a resting-place and a refuge. But a long interval had elapsed before the national temples and hierarchy were consecrated to the nobler end of enlightening the ignorant, and administering comfort to the poor. Rich beyond all Protestant rivalry in sacred literature, the Church of England, from the days of Parker to those of Laud, had scarcely produced any one considerable work of popular instruction. The pastoral care which Burnett depicted, in the reign of William and Mary, was at that time a vision which, though since nobly fulfilled, no past experience had realized. Till a much later time, the alphabet was among the mysteries which the English church concealed from her catechumens. There is no parallel in the annals of any other Protestant State, of so wonderful a concentration, and so imperfect a diffusion of learning and genius, of piety and zeal. The reigns of Whitgift, Bancroft, and Laud, were unmolested by cares so rude as those of evangelizing the artisans and peasantry. Jewel and Bull, Hall and Donne, Hooker and Taylor, lived and wrote for their peers, and for future ages, but not for the commonalty of their own. Yet was not Christianity berest in England of her distinctive and glorious privilege. It was still the religion of the poor. Amidst persecution, contempt, and penury, the Puritans had toiled and suffered, and had, not rarely, died in their service. Thus in every city, and almost in every village, they who had eyes to see, and ears to hear, might, at the commencement of the seventeenth century, perceive the barbingers of the coming tempest. Thoughtful and resolute men had transferred the allegiance of the heart from their legitimate, to their chosen leaders; while, unconscious of their danger, the ruling were straining the bonds of authority, in exact proportion to the decrease of their number and their strength. It was when the future pastors of New England were training men to a generous contempt of all sublunary interest for conscience sake, that Laud, not content to be terrible to the founders of Connecticut and New England, braved an enmity far more to be dreaded than theirs. With a view to the ends to which his life was devoted, bis truth and courage would have been well exchanged for the wily and time-serving genius of Williams. Supported by Heylin, Cosins, Montague, and many others, who adopted or exaggerated his own opinions, he precipitated the temporary overthrow of a Church, in harmony with the character, and strong in the affections of the people ; upheld by a long line of illustrious names; connected with the whole aristocracy of the realm; and enthusiastically defended by the Sovereign.
Baxter's theological studies were commenced during these tumults, and were insensibly biassed by them. The ecclesiastical polity had reconciled him to Episcopal ordination; but as he read, and listened, and observed, his attachment to the established ritual and discipline progressively declined. He began by rejecting the practice of indiscriminate communion. He was dissatisfied with the compulsory subscription to articles, and the baptismal cross. Deeper thoughts on the point of
Episcopacy' were suggested to him by the et cetera oath; and these reflections soon rendered him an irreconcilable adversary to the English Diocesan frame.' He distributed the sacred ele