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scarce and expensive. It is by no means such a performance as we had reason to expect upon such a subject. We apprehend that Mr. Chalmers, wherever he deviates from Wood, or in points which did not tall under his own immediate observation, has been too easily content with such superficial accounts as he could readily procure. That he would have given us a complete work, 'omnibus numeris absolutum,' is what we never ventured to hope. An university, like that of Oxford, consists of so many separate societies, having their peculiar statutes and customs, and in all internal transactions so distinct from one another, that we doubt whether any individual would be competent to the undertaking. If some intelJigent member of each society could be induced to become its historian, and to give a full and unreserved account of his own college, we might then expect to receive an adequate and authentic history of those magnificent establishments.
The engravings which accompany the present work, to the number of thirty-one, are executed by Storer and Greig with peculiar neatness and fidelity, though on far too diminutive a scale.
In closing our remarks on the present publication, we must repeat our hope that Mr. Chalmers will shortly redeem the pledge which he has here given to the public, and favour us with his promised History of the Rise and Progress of the University as connected with the History of Literature. Such a work, we are persuaded, he is qualitied to perform with taste and ability; and we trust that he will not neglect such an opportunity of establishing his reputation as an Oxford historian on a firmer and broader basis than his present publication can possibly supply.
ART. VI. The Works of the Reverend Thomas Torenson, D.D.
late Archdeacon of Richmond, one of the Rectors of Malpas, Cheshire, &c. In two Volumes. To which is prefired, an iccount of the Author, &c. &c. By Ralph Churton, A. M.
Archdeacon of St. David's, &c. &c. GREAT divines, from the Fathers downwards, have usually
been the most voluminous of writers; a fact, perhaps, to be accounted for, by that which cometh upon them' weekly, the necessity of producing a certain quantity of theological matter, without much regard to style or selection. In the present disposition of mankind; this is one of the few instances in which our old theologians are to be held up as warnings rather than examples. Whoever now sits down to write on scriptural subjects, ought to ask himself in the first place, Quis leget hæc? and to remember that, if he would engage attention, it must be not by the excellence only, but by the brevity of his compositions. A small impression (250 copies) of the works of our “last great divine' in seveu ponde
rous quartos, has abundantly satisfied the curiosity of the public : yet if Warburton failed to interest, who shall hope to follow him with success? The novelty and boldness of his hypotheses, the bounding vigour of his style, his powerful argumentation, brilliant wit, and, as a seasoning for modern palates, we may add his audacious scurrility, are qualities of which some far surpass the powers, while the rest consist not with the manners of modern divines. The truth is that, in an age when knowledge multiplies and extends itself with a rapidity unknown in any former period, it has become necessary for those, who wish to maintain a decent port in literary society, to read more or less of every thing. If any science be omitted in the widely extended pursuit of general information, we fear it will be that to which, although, as Cowley observes, 'it carries its own diguity in its name,' the talking part of mankind are unhappily the most indifferent. Discoveries in this science, however, should above all others, be introduced to notice; and as the fastidiousness of modern taste shrinks from the bulk, the type and the garb in which our old theological writers present themselves, and readers of the present day are no less appalled by Hall, Taylor, and Barrow, than were their
forefathers by the dreadful front of de Lyra;' we cannot but wish, in charity, for judicious and tangible selections rather than complete republications of those valuable but redundaut writers. At all events, let the modern theologian reverence the public as a great personage, who has many other avocations, and upon whom he can have no demand but for a moderate portion of time and attention: let him moreover suspect the parental fondness of authorship, and if, on mature examivation, he have no important discovery to produce, no old and unfashionable truth, to which by elegance and compression he can hope once more to give currency and splendour, let him forego his purpose, and prudently contine his papers to his own cabinet.
This caution is perhaps equally necessary for the zeal and affectionof executors. Death consecrates friendship; and every half formed sketch, every rag and scrap, which escaped the martyrdom of fire while in the possession of the deceased, becomes a relic, first to be preserved with superstitious reverence, and in due time to be presented as a benefaction to the public. Nothing but this blind veneration could have induced a late prelate of exact taste and judgment in other respects, to forget his own delicacy,' and commit the memory of his departed friend, by directing the exposure of many letters, which did little honour to the bead, and less to the heart of the writer. To the worthy depositary, however, of Dr. Townson's posthumous reputation, these cautions would have been superfluous. Whether his patron wrote nothing of moment but what is here produced, or whether there were any thing in his writings either less original, or of inferior merit to the
volumes before us, is no part of a reviewer's concern: it is enough for us, and for the world, that the theological works of this learned and excellent man have that specific claim which we have mentioned, upon an age in which books are multiplied beyond all bounds, and readers distracted by the demand of universal attention to their contents. They will occupy little time in the perusal; they will convey in a style, simple, correct, and pleasing, much informa tion of the highest value; in other words, they are brief, compact, and original.- Pauca quidem ingenii sui pignora reliquit, sed egregia, sed admiranda!
About ninety pages of the first volume are occupied by an account of the author;' a work for which the biographer of Alexander Nowell had already shewn himself well qualified. Yet the manner in which the two subjects are commemorated is strikingly different; and on the whole we find it difficult to pronounce, whether the first object of biographical writing, abstract truth, and strict discrimination of character, be most attainable, when the writer is personally acquainted with his subject, or when the tribute of commemoration is withheld, till prejudices and partialities are no more, and the excellencies and defects of a character can be weighed in the balance of unbiassed justice. On the one side, are the advantages of personal insight into those little incidents and humours of daily life, which recur without preparation, without effort, and without the suspicion of being observed : on the other, are those of coolness and impartiality. Yet in the former case, the actions of those with whom we intimately converse, are never wholly indifferent; they are expanded or contracted, brightened or obscured, according to the involuntary and irresistible power of inclination over the mind of the observer: and in the latter, the biographer labours in point of fact. If his purveyors were not contemporary with the subject of the memoir, they were scarcely in a better condition than himself: if they were, they had their passions and prejudices, and may mislead him. Either mode therefore is attended by opposite, and perhaps equal difficulties; but to a strong understanding, and to well regulated affections, neither the one nor the other will be found insuperable.
« The little clerical merit which is left amongst us,' at least that unobtrusive and most amiable part of it, which consists in the private duties of the pastoral charge is, we fear, shrinking fast into the lower classes of the profession. In this view, a faithful detail of the habits of a modern dignitary, in the situation of a parish priest, cannot fail to make an useful impression on his brethren of the same rauk. Ancient examples were never less reverenced than at present, and when produced, an excuse is never wauting to elude their force. It is now become vain to urge what Gilpin and Herbert did, or how they taught :--the sentiments of mankind, we are told, have undergone a total change. Such private applications to the conciences as were employed by them, would no longer be endured. Nay, perhaps a clergyman of superior rank is more reverenced, who is seen by his people for the most part in the elevated station of the pulpit; while an inferior minister, who approaches nearer to the middle and lower orders of the parish in manners, habits, and language, will discharge the more inostentatious and irksome offices of personal inspection and private visitation with greater effect. Every order in society ought to have ministers adapted to its rank, and the principal, in making a judicious choice of a substitute, has consulted, not only his own consequence, but the best interests of his people. By such pernicious sophistry, the most solemn, and we may add, the most personal of all trusts is transferred, nay, frequently, we apprehend, even without the previous ceremony between a man and his own conscience, which such reflexions imply. To awaken more animating thoughts on such a subject, to subdue the pride, the indolence, and levity of which such reasonings are compounded, one modern example of high authority is equivalent to volumes of direct and formal institutions on the pastoral care.
In the life of Dr. Townson, we have the history of a contemporary, a scholar, and a gentleman, well educated, travelled, preferred, distinguished by the unsought acceptance of the highest degree, and by the refusal of the most honourable station which an English university could confer, giving himself up with the zeal and assiduity of the most conscientious stipendiary, to the private duties of his parish; so that the same man, who led the conversation of the first companies by his talents, and restrained it by his authority, was more frequently seen in the cottages of the poor, administering at the same time to their bodily and spiritual wants. But on this subject it is time that we should hear his biographer, who calls upon us to attend his venerable patron in the conduct of bis household and the care of his fock. On the former head it may suffice to observe, that it was the house of a truly devout and Christian pastor, who summoned all under his roof to morning and evening prayer; and the same sedate and holy fervour, which was so edifying in the church, never failed to animate these less public addresses to heaven. On Sunday evening one hour was devoted to reading the holy Scriptures to his family with some practical comment, and the instructive lesson began and ended with prayer. At the same time it was a rule with him not to encroach on the duties of this day by writing letters, much less by the too frequent practice of travelling. Yet had the Sunday of this good man nothing of gloom or austerity; on the contrary, it was always within his walls a day of peculiar hospitality and cheerfulness. In visiting the sick, a duty to which he was scru
pulously pulously attentive, he sometimes availed bimself of the liberty which the canons gave, and made apposite alterations in the prayers of the church. Pecuniary assistance also, if necessary, was afforded with a liberal hand. In some instances, if other means of access did not occur, or did not succeed, he privately wrote to persons living in known habits of vice. Besides distributing copies of the holy Scriptures, and books of piety, which were now and then endeared to the receiver by some affectionate inscription of the donor, he took no small care that children especially, of whom he generally kept several at school, should be taught to use morning and evening prayers, and to learn by heart that admirable compendium of Christian morality, the third chapter of the Epistle to the Colossians.'
From the well written and pleasing memoir of this excellent man, the reader will pass to the perusal of his works with an avidity which will not be disappointed. Among these, the first and most important are the well known Discourses on the Gospels,' in which, the author proves, by a minute and critical investigation, the superior antiquity of St. Matthew's gospel; shews by marks of imitation, which we think incontrovertible, that the succeeding evangelists had each profited by the memoirs of his predecessors; and above all, labours to establish (what antiquity has left in the dark) the era of the first gospel. This he feels disposed to fix so early as A. D. XXXVII. and it cannot be denied, that the numerous marks of contemporeity with the events recorded by St. Matthew, though many of them are, singly, too feeble to justify the conclusion, like scattered rays when collected into a focus, shed a strong and clear light on the point which they are directed to illuminate.
The revival of this masterly work, if our younger students in theology retain any true taste for legitimate composition, clear arrangement, and perspicuity of thought, will, at least, tend to diminish an appetite for the German style of disquisition on these subjects, which, as it is vicious in itself, and has been formed by that satiety of the best fare which plenty and uniformity together are apt to generate, has been too much pampered by the introduction of foreign ordinaries, with all their dubious treats of palatable and well disguised poison, into our capital, and our universities. For ourselves, we freely confess, that had not our minds been prepared to expect what has since happened on a more serious subject, by the temporary acquiescence of our countrymen in the introduction from that very climate of a drama which was to supersede Shakspeare, and which turned out more stupid and immoral than any thing endured before among civilized inen, we should have been astonished at the depravity of taste in wiser persons, and in this more recent example, From the specimens which have reached us, we should conceiye ourselves as completely justified in sending a son to learn