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'which skirt the precints of that majestic and elegant fane.' After all that Mr. Harford has said, it is clear to our minds that one of the bishop's maxims was, that it is never too late to do well.'
Time, which ruptures the tenderest ties of the dearest friends, terminated the long career of Bishop Barrington, in the ninety
year of his age. This was a stroke which Bishop Burgess deeply felt. The patriarchal prelate had given orders that his funeral should be strictly private, and, accordingly, none but the executors were invited to attend. When the day arrived for the transfer of the body to Mangewell for interment, Bishop Burgess was seen, between six and seven in the morning, slowly pacing up and down the pavement at a short distance from the house of his departed friend; and as the hearse moved from the door he watched its mournful progress till it ceased to be visible, and then he returned in pensive meditation to his own home.
Among the various things which we feel bound to except against in the volume before us, is a long, dull, and dangerous dissertation on the subject of Confirmation. Mr. Harford asserts that
upon this scriptural and apostolic rite,' “there cannot be 'any diversity of opinion among those who duly consider its ' meaning, and the effects which may be expected to follow it' (p. 436). Of these alleged effects.' some idea may be formed from the words of Bishop Burgess, as quoted by Mr. Harford. When the latter had been commiserating the bishop on the exertion required to confirm seven or eight hundred persons in one morning, the purport of his answer was always thus expressed:- Be assured that the lively interest which I take in
a rite every way so affecting, and of such vast importance to 'the spiritual welfare of so many of Christ's 'little ones,' pre
cludes any feeling of personal inconvenience. God grant that 'the ceremony (however imperfectly I may have performed it) may be blessed to them, and that there may have been vouchsafed to them, through me, a portion of that heavenly grace, ' which shall enable them to continue his for ever.” We turn from this popish delusion to Mrs. Hannah More, to record in our pages the following criticism from her pen on the writings of Horsley. In a letter to Lewis Way, she says
My taste is so—shall I say spoilt, or raised—by the old divinity, that a large proportion of the new does not gratify 'my palate. It has, however, been gratified in a high degree .by Bishop Horsley's Sermons. They exhibit, in no ordinary
degree, genius, profound thinking, originality, sagacity in 'penetrating and unfolding an obscure text, pellucid clearness
in conveying it, general soundness of doctrine, deep learning * displayed with better taste than in the old divines, not by
loading the text, or crowding the margin, but by its results, 'in making his page more luminous, and his exposition more 'scriptural. There are some faults arising from his naturally * irascible temper and a want of spirituality.'
We now approach the close of the life of Bishop Burgess. On June 16, 1835, while holding a confirmation in the parish church of Warminster, during the service he sunk down of a sudden, from a slight attack of apoplexy; but he soon recovered from the effects of this visitation, and was able to read and to enjoy the society of his friends. His Lordship's last days, we are sorry to find, were much embittered by the Dissenters’ ‘attempts to
excite bitter feelings of hostility against the Established Church. * The very different spirit, or rather the cordial respect and
attachment manifested towards it, at this critical juncture, by 'the Wesleyan-Methodists, called forth his marked commenda* tion, and he spoke with much esteem of that community of " Christians' (p. 504). Amid the infirmities which such language betrays, there were not wanting noble traits of character which deserve to be held in lasting remembrance. He did what few bishops have ever done, and he purposed even more than he was allowed to perform. He bequeathed to St. David's College his valuable library consisting of ten thousand volumes, to which he likewise added a sum of money to promote the same object. Feeling himself incapable of discharging efficiently the duties of his office, he requested permission to resign his bishopric; but was informed that such a resignation was, on many grounds, inadmissible. It had been a serious matter, indeed, to have set such an example, and to have established such a precedent!
The days of the venerable Bishop being nearly ended, he became more and more alive to the claims of the eternal world. His conversations with his friends were of a nature that became his situation, calculated equally to instruct, to edify, and to impress. In the autumn of 1836, he became seriously indisposed; his illness increased till, on the 19th of February, 1837, he gently breathed his last.
Thus we have recorded the principal facts in the history of Bishop Burgess, and we are now in circumstances to form an estimate of his character. As a scholar, his learning was extensive and various, and, on certain subjects, of considerable depth. He was rather, however, a man of literature than of science, and as a divine he was, upon the whole, superficial. His element was slight skirmishing with small antagonists, on matters of evidence rather than of doctrine. He was, however, in the main, sound in his views of gospel truth, but there was little of either depth or power in his evangelical conceptions. There was a great defect of sap and savour in his pastoral
ministrations, although, we think, quite as much of both as falls to the lot of most of our modern evangelical bishops. His own personal religion appears to have harmonized with his systemit was cold and dry, a thing which had much more to do with the intellect than with the affections. Indeed the extensive favor which he enjoyed with Bishop Barrington, and the very lengthened and intimate connexion which obtained between him and that politic prelate, alone suffice to demonstrate that his views of gospel truth must have been of a very moderate, if not of a mitigated description, and that his evangelical tastes were not very exquisite. Auckland Castle would soon have closed its gates on Thomas Scott. As an ecclesiastic we have seen much in him to commend, and something to admire; taken altogether he was one of the best men of his order that has appeared in our times.
What shall we say of his biographer? Shall we praise him ? We praise him not ! Mr. Harford is either chargeable with negligence or with presumption. If he possesses the requisite qualifications for this undertaking, he has not exerted them; if he does not, propriety required his abstinence. The life of an English bishop who lived in the days of Burgess is a great subject,-a subject which requires no ordinary understanding, cultivation, knowledge, and charity-points in all of which we hold our author to be defective. The volume is loose, superficial, and ill put together. From the beginning to the end there is not a single important thought, nor one original observation,—all is poor, flat, and common place. The style—if style it can be designated—is that of an easy gentleman of fortune who reads little, thinks less, and seldom writes anything. We can, indeed, gather from the volume that he is the proprietor of more than one 'estate;' and we are glad to find that such is the case; for we are quite satisfied that the rod and the gun rather than the pen are the instruments appropriate to the hands of Mr. Harford. The fact, moreover, relieves our judgment from those restraints, which our feelings might have otherwise imposed, had the comfort of his household depended on his literary labours, and has left us at full liberty to pronounce an honest verdict.
Art. IV. History of the Literature of Ancient Greece. By K. O. MUL
LER, Professor in the University of Gottingen. Vol. I. Published under the superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. 1840.
THIS is the first volume of a work, composed by the accom
plished author expressly for the Society which has laid it before the English public. "The translation has been executed under the direction of the Society, and the greater part has had the advantage of the author's revision; and this, before it has appeared in its native land and language. We had at first intended to wait for the appearance of the second volume, before calling our readers' attention to this; but a fuller consideration has shown us adequate reasons, as we think, for treating this volume as a complete whole in itself. It einbraces the Greek literature from its commencement until the close of the ancient tragedy; Euripides being the last author extant on whom any criticism is put forth. Now, whether by design of the learned professor or otherwise, it so happens that this is a remarkable era, separating the poetical from the philosophical and rhetorical age of Greek; so that our present volume might be entitled
Greek Poetry, with the exception of the imaginative and half poetical storyteller Herodotus. None of the older philosophers survive to us. It is true, that a few minor writers remain for the next volume, and one more original, yet decidedly inferior poet, the Sicilian Theocritus. But all the nobler and higher minds belong to the earlier period which is now brought before our notice.
It is natural to inquire whether the history of Greece Proper, as transmitted to us, enables us to account for the sudden failure of their poetry. The last poet, Euripides, is often a mere philosopher in disguise ; while his contemporary, Thucydides, is the earliest philosophic historian. The school of Socrates at the same time arose; and the orators, beginning from Antiphon, Lysias, and Andocides, are more or less preserved to us. Had any poets worth preserving existed after Euripides, their works could not have been lost.
The history assuredly does give us much insight into the matter; for the era of the last-named tragedian is the celebrated Peloponnesian war against Athens, B.c. 431-404. The intellect of Greece had been growing apace, and that of Athens was well nigh ripe for the most manly discussions; a fact which we may learn from contemplating the mind of Thucydides; who was in his prime, as he tells us, when the war broke out, 431 years before the Christian era. The Grecian communities of Asia Minor and of Italy, had a considerable start of Greece Proper in every element of civilization; and with them, accordingly, philosophy and prose-composition also began at an earlier period. But although the growth of the national mind will account for the germination of philosophy, this will not account for the cessation of poetry. We know by the example of modern nations that there is no connexion whatever between the two things. A philosophic age produces poetry of different tone from that which a less mature society pours forth ; but it need not be less sweet, less fervid, less imaginative, less natural. We must look to the Peloponnesian war itself as the fatal cause which dried up the springs of genial feeling in Greece, and hereby blighted her poetic powers. As we are not aware that this subject has been anywhere made prominent, we propose here to develop somewhat the bearing of the facts in this relation.
The moral effects of the war are portrayed in terrific colors by the sober-minded Thucydides; and we know no reason to suppose that he has overcharged his narrative. It was no mere contest against a foreign foe; it was a civil war coming home to every man's hearth. The contest lay nominally between Athens and Sparta ; really between democracy and aristocracy: and every state in Greece had within its own bosom opposite parties, each ready to betray the general independence for the triumph of its own side. "The members of one family would often be found in arms against each other: and where otherwise, yet the kinsman was less intimate than the thoroughgoing and unscrupulous partisan. The factions treated each other with merciless rigor, not seeking merely the political depression of their adversaries, but thirsting for their life-blood. The beaten party, if not exterminated, escaped to foreign towns, and watched an opportunity to return, by plots, by assassinations, or by open marching against their own state, perhaps in the ranks of the public enemy. All Greece swarmed with exiles ; who, from inability to gain any other livelihood, were soon glad to sell their swords to the highest bidder : so that the system of mercenary soldiery now gained rapid extension; one 'mark of which is presently seen in the large use of Greek troops by Persian princes, beginning with Cyrus the younger. This convulsion was not confined to continental Greece. In the course of the war, the islands and the coast of Asia were involved in the same calamities. In Argos, Corinth and Thebes, like tumults arose at its termination : Lacedemon only seemed to be free.
As for Athens, her case was peculiar. The policy of the splendid Pericles may be palliated by alleging that he had the choice of difficulties, but it cannot be defended. The charges of