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he laid down his life, and shed his blood, to be an atonement for sin, the intenseness of his sufferings, and the agonies of death to which he submitted when he gave hintself for us. And he was numbered with the transgressors. He was apprehended as a thief, by the multitudes · who went out with swords and staves to take him. He was condem.
ned by the Jewish sanhedrim for blasphemy, and by the Roman governor for sedition, and crucified between two thieves.--And he bare the sin of many, for whom he became a sacrifice and an offering, a propi. tiation and a curse, i. e. he was accounted and treated as one accursed, that he might take away our sins, and that we might be blessed in him.
. All the sins of those who are sared in every age met together on him and even those who had fewest, had no small burden to cast upon him.And made intercession for transgressors, that he might justly have consigned to everlasting destruction. He pleads successfully with his eternal Father in behalf of those who have violated his sacred authority, and who are convinced of the law as transgressors. The Evangelist Luke hath transmitted to us a valuable specimen of what is here affirmed*. Whilst he was insulted and tortured on the cross by his enemies, he uttered this compassionate request : " Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." The efficacy of this prayer was experienced by thouBands, who, on the day of Pentecost, were converted by the ministry of the apostle Peter. This intercession of Jesus Christ, exemplified at considerable length in the 17th Chapter of John, is conducted by him for the most benevolent purposes, that transgressors may obtain the remission of sins, that they may be kept from evil, that their prayers may be answered, their services accepted, and that the Comforter may be sent to abide with them continually. Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, who hath visited and redeemed his people, and who hath performed the mercy promised unto the fathers. Let the praises of the Lord our God ill hearen and earth: let them occupy the hearts, the mouths, and the lives of all in the churches of Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us, lo redeem us' from all iniquity, and to purify us unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Vol. IV. pp. 124, 197.
We do not mean to assume the merit of having waded through nearly three thousand closely printed pages of a work, which admits of no continued chain of argument; but from the various passages which we have examined, we are satisfied that the principles and spirit of the lecturer are in unison with those of the prophet; and upon the whole we have received a favourable impression of Mr. Mi's pastoral character. He seldom offends against good sense, or good theology; and although we have not discovered any peculiar felicity of elucidation, (a requisite, we think, which every printed commentary on the scriptures should possess in a greater or less degree) yet he is in general sufficiently care
* Chap. xxiii, 84.
ful not to suffer the comment to wander from the text. With respect to the style of this production, the author we imagine does not aim at elegance, but it is not usually deficient in perspicuity. Although never difficulted' by his Scotticisms, we have not always forborne to smile. The errors of the following sentence we attribute to the press,—' These are the Jonahs that raiseth the storm ; these are the chans that troubleth society. (Vol. I. p. 528.) : Art.: V. Memoirs of the Life and Writings of Victor Alfieri. Written
by himself. 2 vols. 8vo. pp. 614, Price 18s. Colburn, 1810. W E took up these volumes with some curiosity. Alfieri,
though not very extensively celebrated in this country, is sufficiently known as "a man of eccentric manners, and as a voluminous and original writer*. It was natural to expect, therefore, that an account of his life and writings from his own pen could not fail to interest, and might very possibly instruct. The opinion which condemns literary biography as monotonous and tiresome, has ever appeared in our judge. ment extremely superficial. It applies to the art what is true only of a few bad specimens. A scholar's life, indeed, is not often chequered by any very striking 'or important events : but why should biography be degraded to the level of romance? We have circumstances that interest because we can realize them, and images that please because they are kindred and familiar. To observe the developement of mind and the determination of character, is surely never unprofitable ; and to a person of cultivated taste few employments can be more instructive, than to witness the reward of labour in the attainment of excellence, to mark the most effectual incitements to intellectual toil, and to watch the bazards and vicissitudes of literary adventure. That there should be some by whom this pleasure is too refined to be sensibly felt and easily comprehended,whose attention can only be kept awake by novelty and variety, -by a succession of unexpect ed scenes and surprising situations-is not more singular tban that there should be others whose notion of wit never extended beyond a practical jest or a manual sarcasm.-With as little propriety, perhaps, las 'ic, been disputed, whether a man is properly qualified to become his own biographer. Undoubtedly such an undertaking presents numerous and powerful motives to sophistication. It is difficult for & person to be thoroughly impartial in his own cause. There are a thousand imperceptible inducements to overcharge what
* See in particular Walker's Historical Memoir on Italian Tragedy, p. 294.
is just and virtuous, to extenuate what is confessedly wrong, and to give a glow of plausibility to what is doubtful. A man is as liable to impose upon himself as upon others, and may very possibly coinmit a fallacy of representation without being justly chargeable with voluntary deceit or conscious hypocrisy. No one, we may suppose, would seriously endeavour to perpetuate his own infamy, or designedly contribute to the degradation of his character; and perhaps no one ever sat down to write even a confession of his errors, without a. secret conviction that their blameworthiness would be half expiated and forgotten in the sincerity of the avowal. Ne.' vertheless, it is not to be hastily concluded, that the portraiture which a man draws of his own mind must of necessity be more imperfect, or the image he conveys of his character more erroneous, than where the représentation is sketched by another. The motives that actuate the writer of another's life are seldom entirely disinterested. The bias of friendship, for instance, is seldom less powerful than the influence of selflove; sometimes more so, as the client would not unfrequently concede what the advocate will persist in defending. Hos tility is still worse : and if we wait till partiality and prejudice are extinct, we lose with them, unfortunately, much for which biography is valuable and instructive. Certainty we, must exchange for hypothetical conjecture; minute delineation for general resenblance; the full and finished picture, where every muscle is animated, and every line is pregnant with meaning, for the dead-coloured and inflexible profile, Besides, in auto-biograplıy we are more upon our guard against imposition, and more able to detect it. It is a sort of personal address, where the speaker is always before us, and where the manner of narrating events apparently trivial, will often be found more expressive of habit and character than the most laboured reasonings and refined disquisitions. We trust less to what a man asserts directly of himself, than to implication and inference. We see the standard of excellence to which he would gladly conform, and by which he is not unwilling to be tried, and learn as much froin observing the virtues he would assume, as froni the faults he is ready to acknowledge which indeed are usually, nothing more than those virtues shooting to luxuriance. In short, it is possible for a man's own estimate of himself to be exceedingly untrue; while, at the same time, if he relate his own story, his readers are furnished with materials for making a very correct one. Of the truth of this remark the ipemoirs of Alfieri exbibit ample evidence. Self-opiniated and self-conplacent, he has yet left a record of his life, which, in the eye of impartial
reason, cannot fail of being looked upon with disesteem. He describes himself as ardent, and a lover of glory ; generous in temper, and tremblingly alive to what the world calls honour. But his ambition and impetuosity excite no praise, because the one was insatiable and the other unreflecting; both exercised without discrimination, neither regulated by any settled principle. His bighmindedness, which we admire when producing a straightforward sincerity of conduct, and a disdain of all petty maneuvring and unmanly artifice, swells upon a thousand occasions into overbearing insolence and sel. fish arrogance : and his chivalrous sense of honour, although sometimes urging him to meritorious sacrifices, and sustaining him under painful privations, enforces no great respect, when we find it for ever at the mercy of ungovernable passion, and compatible with a violation of the plainest dictates of moral truth. Our author's character, however, will follow with more propriety, after the reader is made acquainted with his life.
Victor Alfieri was born in the city of Asti, in Piedinont, on the 17th of January 1789. His parents were noble, wealthy, and respectable. - his father a man of strict morals and wholly devoid of ambition--his mother charitable and pic bus. - Virtue, however, is not like nobility and wealth, hereditary; and Alfieri did not long enjoy even the benefit of parental example; being deprived of his father before he had completed his first year, and separated from his mother at a very early age. The events of his infancy he has detailed with a minuteness that is wearisome, and an affectation of philosophical thinking that is ridiculous. He talks of being able to recollect such and such a number of past occurrences, as if ne imagined the memory was to be summoned at pleasure and exercised at will, or was ignorant that a man may in vain interrogate this faculty to day, for that which to morrow some inexplicable association of place or circumstance shall unexpectedly recal. Trifles of casual import, too, are magnified into affairs of importance: the feelings of infancy are coloured much too strong, ly: the date of a prejudice is determined to an hour, and the ehronology of a habit fixed with the exactness of a parish register. On this kind of investigation much reliance cannot be placed. He that sits down to describe the formation of his character, ought at least to be deliberate in his researches: for it is probable he has already settled in his mind what that character is to be; and may with out much difficulty find facts to quadrate with his preposses. sions, be they ever so erroneous. At the same time, it is :
but justice to remark, that several of the circumstances that Alfieri has recorded are significant and expressive, and altogether afford us a tolerable insight into the whimsical peculiarity of his mind at a very early period. He has thus sketched the character of his infancy. 1.Taciturn and calm, petulant and talkative by turns, my spirits were always in extremes ; resisting force, but submissive to the voice of friendship. I was more restrained by the dread of being reprimanded, than by any other consideration ; in short, though excessively timid, I was inflexible when any one attempted to overcome me by open force.' Vol. I. p. 20.. : When about nine years old, Alfieri was removed from his maternal home to the academy of Turin, having previously learned writing, a few rules of arithmetic, and a little Latin, from a domestic preceptor. At this academy, according to his own statement, he spent eight years of ? unproductive education,' Perhaps this statement is somewhat exaggerated. The discipline of the academy was indeed irregular, the course of study superficial, the scholars injudiciously classed, and the instructors incompetent. Much, therefore, he could not learn, especially as he was subject to frequent fits of illness. Yet during the four or ave first years bis application was tolerably strict. He was ex. tremely sensible of the impulse of emulation, and seems at least to have equalled, if not to have surpassed, most of his companions. Whatever proficiency, however, he might have been expected to make, was effectually checked by-becoming too early the master of his fortune. According to the Piedmontese laws, the period of the guardianship of minors expires on their attaining the age of fourteen ; and although another guardian is appointed, lie is merely authorized to prevent the alienation of their property, without possessing any controul over their annual incoine. Our young aca. demic now began to associate with a set of gay companie ons, gave into schemes of amusement, dressed in the highest style of fashion, sported his chariot and stud of seven horses, and in fine, after a few ineffectual struggles of remorse and shame, resigned himself to continual dissipation. At the age of sixteen he left the academy, in consequence of having some time before enrolled his name in the army. Of this step, it seems, he repented at leisure. It left him at perfect liberty to do nothing, the only state which he found really irksome:' : He could never accustoin his tra. gic mind, neither, to that gradual chain of dependence fermed subordination ; and for this reason detested the