Page images


well as philosophic interest, in the story of Eleazar, ‘an aged man’ who was constrained to eat swine's flesh.

“But he, chusing rather to die gloriously than to live stained with such an abomination, spit it forth, and came of his own accord to the torment.”

The agents, however, of the oppressors endeavour to dissuade him from sacrificing himself on account of his religion :

“ But he began to consider discreetly, and as became his age, and the excellency of his ancient years, and the honour of his

gray whereunto he was come, and his most honest education from a child, or rather the holy law made and given by God: therefore he answered accordingly, and willed them straightways to send him to the grave.

« For it becometh not ur age, said he, in anywise to dissemble, whereby many young persons might think that Eleazar, being fourscore years old and ten, were now gone to a strange religion ; “ and so," he adds, “I should get a stain to my old age and make it abominable.

“Wherefore, now manfully changing this life, I will shew myself such an one as mine age requireth,

“ And leave a notable example to such as be young, to die willingly and courageously for the honourable and holy laws; and when he had said these words, immediately he went to the torment."

This article has already run, perhaps, to a sufficient length; and we shall therefore abstain from making any quotations whatever from the New Testament. We shall, most probably, return to the subject on some future occasion ; when the Proverbs of Solomon, the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah, and the acts and writings of the apostles, will afford ample materials for another article. At present, it will be sufficient to say that the tone of the New Testament differs materially from that of the Old ; although both have naturally the oriental cast and character. The Bible abounds in marvellous histories, in touching episodes, in joyful psalms, and sounding prophecies. The Testament is a simple narrative of the life of * The Son of Man ;' rich in his precepts and radiant with his actions, indeed, but otherwise (saving only the story of his death) exempt in a great measure from the excitement which belongs to the other. The first is an example, and the last a lesson. This being the case, it happens of course that the style of the later writings is less elevated than that of the earlier poetry. What may be their comparative 'merits, considered merely as literary performances, and what may be the comparative value of the characters offered to our notice in each, were the kings and warriors of the Old Testament opposed to

[ocr errors]

those of the New, and the patriarchs and prophets placed by the side of the apostles and martyrs, we shall not now pretend to say. Something probably might be advanced in favour of the superiority of each. At any rate, we think, the advantage, even in respect to composition, does not lie so entirely in favour of the Old Testament as is generally presumed. There is nothing finer in all the books of the Bible than the account of Saint John the Baptist, who was fed with locústs and wild honey, and lived in desarts apart from men,- A voice crying in the wilderness. There is nothing finer, in its way, than the account of Saint Paul, stern and courageous, or the gentler story of the beloved disciple.'

If there be something awful in the denunciations of the prophets, something so terrible and imposing that ordinary faith and human reason must have shrank and staggered beneath their awful anathemas; there is perhaps as true and assuredly as rare a grandeur in the simple characters of the apostles. These men, chosen from the poorest classes of a despised people, to interpret the doctrines of Jesus Christ, and spread his name abroad over lands and seas, became, from the purity of their lives and their fearless devotion, respected even in the eyes of infidels and scoffers. They seem to have taken their stand round their Master, (as the angelic virtues may be supposed to linger round the throne of the Deity from whom they emanate, true servants, whom neither contempt could weaken nor persecution dismay. They followed him till he suffered, with undeviating patience and exemplary attachment, all (except one) untempted and faithful. And when The Son of Man' died upon the cross, and the Heavens darkened at the darker actions of men, and the veil of the temple was rent asunder, and the oracles of the prophets accomplished; these humble followers of an aspiring cause still submitted to endure pain, and insult, and beggary, for its sake. They expatriated themselves, and went amidst distant plains and desarts, armed only with the lessons which they had heard, and provided only in the pity of men. They forsook the comforts of their homes, and vanquished the common feelings of their nature; and, abandoning themselves to the Providence which they believed to protect them, preached the words of their master unto hostile nations. They were beyond the heroes of history or fable ; for they were beyond the ordinary impulse which stimulates men to great actions. No garlands of laurel awaited them, no crowns of gold, no thanks of senates, no shouts of multitudes; but only peril, and disgrace, and poverty, desertion, and sickness, and scorn. They looked forward to no reward, but the reward of their own approving hearts. They were unschooled in the lessons of fame. They had no long line of illustrious fathers to

emulate or surpass : but they rose from the humblest level of the community, peasants, fishers, mechanics, and artizans, and soared into a high and stainless immortality by dint of faith and self-devotion alone. They practised as well as preached. They were untouched by pride, and un-degraded by meanness. In a word, they were the truest martyrs, the most perfect servants that ever the story of the world presented, ‘lovely in their lives' beyond all who have gone before or after, and consummating their characters in death !

Art. II.-- The History of the Rebellion in the year 1715, with

original Papers, and the Characters of the principal Noblemen and Gentlemen concerned in it. By the Rev. Robert Patten, formerly Chaplain to Mr. Forster. "The Third Edition. London, 1745.

The first edition of this work was, we believe, published in the year 1716; and this third impression was, in all probability, called for by the interest excited by the Rebellion of 1745. Its author, the minister of Allandale, in Northumberland, was one of that numerous class of orthodox clergy, who, in the reign of Queen Anne, maintained, in conjunction with the doctrines of passive obedience and non-resistance, the divine right of legitimate sovereignty, and the indefeasible title of inheritance to the British throne. Of course, he held revolutionary principles in abhorrence, and regarded the exile Stuart as his lawful king. He did not, like many of his more prudent brethren, allow his political zeal to evaporate in words. When his patron, Mr. Forster, raised the standard of insurrection in Northumberland, of which county he was one of the representatives in parliament, he girded his cassock about his loins, and accompanied the rebel forces, in the capacity of chaplain to the commander in chief, on their ill-advised incursion into Lancashire, publicly praying for the Pretender in every town which they occupied during their march. At Preston, however, his spiritual functions were abruptly terminated. Being taken prisoner, together with the chiefs of the rebellion, on the surrender of that place, he was, immediately after his arrival in London, put into strict custody. This duress, as he assures us in the preface to his book, now under our consideration, "was of singular use to him.”—“ For,” says he, “whilst I continued amongst those unfortunate gentlemen whose principles were once my own, I looked no further than esteeming what I had done the least part of my guilt. But no sooner was I removed into the custody of a messenger, and there closely confined, where I had leisure to reflect upon my past life, and especially that of engaging in the rebellion, than a great many scruples offered themselves to my consideration.” In this uncomfortable state of mind, he applied to Lord Townsend, beseeching him to allow him the assistance of a clergyman in the solution of his doubts. His lordship listened graciously to his request, and placed him under the tuition of a certain Doctor Cannon, “ a man,” as he describes him, “ of singular good temper and literature.” The reverend tutor set about his task with great zeal and ability. How far his arguments were backed by a bird's-eye view of the gallows, our author does not say,—but the result of the conferences of these two ecclesiastics was a happy one. Doctor Patten was convinced of his political heresies-he repented him of his political sins-and, in proof of the sincerity of his conversion, and of his abhorrence of his late mal-practices, he became an evidence against his associates in rebellion. We, accordingly, find him giving testimony against Lord Wintoun, and against others of the rebel officers, the particulars of whose trials have been left upon record.

It is a common remark, that the newly converted seldom keep their zeal within due bounds, and that they are particularly acrimonious against the party which they have quitted. So it was with the Reverend Doctor Patten, sometime chaplain to Mr. Forster. In the course of his work, he adopts all the loyal slang of a staunch supporter of the House of Hanover. He styles King George “his most sacred Majesty.” He is grateful to Heaven that there exists in the kingdom “a set of reverend, learned, and pious divines ;"thus he terms the lowchurch clergy, once the objects of his scorn and abomination. He laments those “divisions,” which it had been so long his glory to promote. He characterizes the report of the danger of the church, which he had formerly been so industrious in propagating, as a “noisy notion.” In his new vocabulary, the House of Hanover is an “illustrious house.” On the contrary, Queen Anne is designated as a “blinded patron" of the Jacobites. Against the leaders of that party he quotes the old proverb, quos Jupiter vult perdere prius dementat.He charges them with bribing witnesses, who were to appear at the trials of the rebels. In speaking of some of his late comrades, who underwent the dreadful penalty of the law, he says, without, however, mentioning their names, that “the former part of their lives had been a direct contradiction to all morality.” His book is inscribed in a fulsome and flattering dedication to Generals Carpenter and Wills, who captured the army of which he was the spiritual adviser, and transmitted his dearest friends to the scaffold. Nevertheless, his book, being the production of an eye-witness of the matters which it relates, and being written with a clear minuteness of narrative, is by no means devoid of interest; and we shall, therefore, make it the basis of a concise account of the origin, progress, and termination of the Rebellion in the year 1715.

It was not without considerable difficulty, that, even after the flight of James II. from England, the principles of liberty triumphed in the memorable year 1688. Even some of those noblemen and gentlemen who had invited the Prince of Orange to come over into this country, for the purpose of redressing the grievances of the nation, when they saw their monarch driven into exile, were, like Macbeth, “ afraid to think of what they had done.” The Roman Catholics, at that time a numerous body, were, of course, attached to a king who had lost his crown in consequence of his zeal for their religion; and the genuine sons of the Church of England, who, in their animosity against the Protestant Dissenters, had fiercely maintained, and severely enforced, the doctrines of passive obedience and non-resistance, were horrified at the idea of the triumph of the principles of the Parliament of 1640 : and even their attachment to their temporalities only slightly mitigated the pang which they felt at the spectacle of a legitimate sovereign cashiered for his violation of the fundamental laws of the realm, and for his infringements upon the “ original contract between King and People."* Hence the embarrassments which obstructed the earliest proceedings of the Convention Parliament, when the House of Lords, for a time, refused to concur in the vote of the Commons, that King James had “ abdicated” the crown, and that “ the throne was consequently vacant.” The conference which took place between the Lords and Commons on that important subject, affords a fine instance of ability in special pleading. The circumstances of the times, however, enabled the blunt honesty of Serjeant Maynard to gain the victory over the subtlety of the Earl of Nottingham and the Bishop of Ely ;—the throne was filled by William III., and the Bill of Rights was passed, to secure in future the liberties of the subject.

Though the government of William was occasionally disturbed by the intrigues of the Jacobites and the Tories, his reign, upon the whole, passed on in more tranquillity than might have been expected. The vigour of the Whig ministry of Queen Anne, also, for a long time held the enemies of Revolution doctrines in check. But, when that ministry began

* Such are the express words of the resolution passed by the House of Commons on the 28th of January, 1688.

« PreviousContinue »