Imatges de pàgina

but on the 16th he reached France, and at two o'clock in the afternoon entered, in the midst of shouts of applause from all the people in the adjacent communes, the town of Fréjus. On the evening of the 17th he quitted Fréjus for Paris, where, till the 9th of November, he continued silently preparing the plan which was to place him at the head of France, and, in conse, quence, at the head of Europe, * The state of France at this epoch is well described by our biographer; and whatever may be thought of the general's mode of acquiring power, it is evident that the directory was incapable of retaining it, and the revolution was effected with scarcely any of those horrors which had, for the preceding ten years, disgraced the French character. We may from this period consider him as the sovereign of a great nation; and his first step proved him worthy to hold the reins of government. He found his country at war; he made, in the most dignified manner, overtures of peace to the king of England, which were unfor, tunately replied to in the style of a special pleader. The inte. rior of the country was distracted by priests, fanatics, and banditti; but by active and decisive steps he restored order and tran, quillity in this quarter. The Austrians threatened to invade France from both Germany and Italy: his regiments were filled up with eagerness; the army of the Rhine was committed to the care of a general second only to himself; and he descended from the Alps into Italy by a way hitherto deemed impassable; and the general of the enemy could scarcely believe the assertions of his troops, that they had been beaten by an army led on by the first consul. The fate of Italy was soon to be decided; the Austrian general, compelled to change his course, advanced to the celebrated plains of Marengo, where the san. guinary battle fought upon this spot destroyed all the hopes he entertained of resisting the French with success. The termi. nation of that engagement gave Italy to the first consul. But it is an error to imagine, that, if the last decisive attack by the French had not obtained for them the victory, the Austrians could have rescued Italy from their grasp. The plans of Bonaparte were too well laid, and he was morally certain of his conquest a few days before he had passed the Alps.

The emperor could no longer resist; his feeble attempts to evade the ratification of the treaty were baffled by the resolution of the first consul; and when the three fortresses of the empire were surrendered, nothing remained but to put an end as soon as possible to the horrors of war. Bonaparte's return to Paris was felt with all the enthusiasm of the French character. His answers to the principal bodies that waited on him with their congratulations were pointed and dignified: he received every one with kindness and complacency; and, in exchanging the field ef battle for the cabinet, displayed talents equally calculated for either post, and was now transformed into as perfect a statesman as he was before a consummate general. That stratagems should be employed against his life in a French metropolis, is not at all surprising; and the most horrible mode of assassination was de. vised to effect the cowardly purpose of the wretched conspirators. Who were the principals in this infernal plan, is not yet ascertained; and our biographer concludes the life of his hero with his escape from their machinations. Bonaparte could not of course betray an emotion that looked like fear on such an occasion, which afforded him only another proof of the love, esteem, and confidence of the great body of his fellow-citizens.

These are the chief traits in the volume before us, which is enriched by a variety of speeches and proclamations of the first consul, whose life is one of the most interesting that history has recorded. As far as military achievements can confer honour on the human character, Bonaparte may vie with the greatest generals that have ever appeared. It yet remains to be seen whether he possess the magnanimity of a Washington. He has performed his promise of giving peace to Europe ; and from so extraordinary a man it is not too much to expect that he will restore liberty to his country.

ART. XI.-Letters from the Rev. Mr. Job Orton, and the Rev.

Sir James Stonhouse, Bart. M.D. to the Rev. Thomas Stedman,
M.A. &c. 2 Vols. 8vo. Is. Boards. Longman and Rees.

THE characters of the writers of these Letters is well known to the religious public. If their talents were not of the first rate, they were eminently distinguished by sound judgement, piety, and a liberal disposition. They were both, moreover, men of great polemic reading, eminently attached to the duties of their profession, and both indefatigable labourers in their Master's vineyard, for the conversion of souls. One of them had been an unbeliever, a zealous unbeliever; yet, like another Paul, having seen the error of his way, he became more anxious to compensate, by the ardor of his future life, for his former transgressions. In these Letters their respective characters develope themselves in a very interesting manner : the smaller volume, however, containing Mr. Orton's Letters, we must observe, is by far the more valuable; and if those of Dr. Stonhouse had been reduced within the same compass, the reader would not have regretted the loss of many uninteresting remarks arising out of a kind of pious garrulity.

To the clergy these Letters may be peculiarly recommended, from their numerous exhortations to a strict performance of parochial duties, the variety of anecdotes relative to the clerical life, and many remarks on authors which may be useful to them in the completion of their libraries. The writers, as we have already observed, were both men of great piety- of a strictly evangelical disposition, we might indeed say, if that term had not been lately adopted to express a system of tenets and mode of conduct from which they were both equally averse. The sentiments of Mr. Orton may be seen from a very judicious letter of his on this subject. •

. I am very glad to hear that you are come to a resolution to have nothing to do with Mr. **** in the way of correspondence or intimacy: and I hope you will extend your resolution to all men of that sort, be they ever so pious and zealous. Serious young men, struck with the appearances of piety and zeal, are not sufficiently cautious of those in whom they see them ; enter into acquaintance and correspondence with them too soon and too closely, and thereby suffer many inconveniences. “ Beware of men,” is a good caution in itself, and it is our Master's too. My reason for this adyice is plain. You are not likely to do Mr. **** any good. There is no mending wrong heads, especially when they are influenced by what they think a zeal for God, and imagine that their good intentions will justify, and even sanctify, all their imprudence and irregularities. You never can make him see that he is acting wrong and impru. dently... You may confute such men, but you can never convince them.--Another substantial reason why you should decline all correspondence with him is, that you will be likely to be a sufferer by him: not that I suppose he will corrupt you, or lead you into any of his irregularities; but these sort of divines will never be easy, except those who they think are pious will join in their measures and approve them. If you join in them, you hurt your own credit and usefulness, and the peace of your own mind; and your name and ex, ample will be considered and quoted as a sanction for all their irregularities. If you do not join in them, they will censure and misrepresent you, yea, and treat you worse than they would a mere formalist. I have seen many instances, and felt some of the effects of this kind of zeal, though it no way hurt me. Several preachers, and others of this stamp, with whom I had not the least acquaintance, and never saw till I came to this town, used to call upon me, supposing me, I imaginė, according to their ideas, to be sound in the faith, and a well-wisher to their designş; but when they found I would not run all their lengths, and discouraged their proceedings, (especially their rash and uncharitable way, of speaking and judging of others, particularly their censures of all the clergy who were not Calvinists, however pious, worthy, and useful), they began to think evil of me, and now, to my great satisfaction, I'see none of them. I shall not forget the advice which a venerable old man of Northampton, with his point-collar-band, once gave me concerning such persons-“ Neither bless them at all, nor curse them at all.”. Vol. i, 3, 19o.

? His farther remarks on conversions deserve at this time particular attention.

Indeed, I lay very little stress upon what some divines call conversions ; I have seen so many instances of their coming to nothing, or that their converts have only been converted from the sins of men to the sins of devils, from drunkenness and debauchery to spiritual pride, bitterness, and uncharitableness; and this I cannot call a sav. ing change. I see little alteration for the better in the conduct of many who have been said to be converted. I am cautious of calling any thing by that name, where there is not a regular consistent conduct following it. Hasty impressions, which some ministers are very ready to observe and admire, are often lost in a little time, and those who have been under them become worse than they were before. I have no idea of conversion as passing a certain line, and then get. ting into a saving state. Conversion is a work of time; and I see no right we have to say any are converted or become good, till one hath a longer season of trial, to observe whether they continue stedfast in the practice of righteousness, and act in every circumstance and relation, in the main, consistent with the demands of the Gospel. I wish you may have the pleasure to see many such converts.' Vol. i. P.118.

Thus Mr. Orton could be zealous in the discharge of his duty ; but he required something more in an acknowledged conversion to vital Christianity than a few transient emotions, occasioned by pulpit declamation or casual fits of seriousness. He expected the new convert to commence a steady examina, tion of himself by the rules of the Gospel, to read that Gospel with attention, to study the whole of the divine life, to become a Christian from conviction ; to evince that Christianity not by the use of affected gesticulation or phraseology, but by the fruits of the spirit operating an internal change in the heart, and purifying the mind from every worldly blemish. As a proof of his judgement, we shall select the account he gives of a book which, at its first appearance, was highly applauded by the chief characters in the church, though it was, in truth, un, dermining its doctrines.

Mr. Robinson, the author of the Plea for the Divinity of Christ, hath not received a regular education, but is a man of a surprising genius, and vast application. He does not appear to me to understand the controversy about the Trinity; and has misapplied several texts, which I have taken the liberty of pointing out to him. He frequently contradicts himself, being in some parts of his performance a Sabellian, while in others he seems to favour the Athanasian doctrine. In reality, I take him to be a Sabellian, or else I do not understand him. I wish none would meddle with that controversy but those who understand it. I have read many treatises upon the sub, ject, and some angry and uncharitable ones, whose authors did not understand it, but wrote without any clear ideas. I think Mr, Ros binson's book will be useful, to show the difficulty of the point, and to abate the confidence and censoriousness of many.' Vol. i. P. 250.

With this opinion we may contrast that of Dr. Stonhouse in the next volume. ir Robinson is a keen, sensible man, and a spirited writer. His Defence of the Doctrine of the Trinity is one of the best books we have on the subject. But I am grieved to find that he is since embarked with Priestley. What infinite mischief to Christianity has that one man done !'' Vol. ii. P. 253.

In these two divines we have an instance of the common and uncommon mode of judging. Orton understood the nature of the controversy; he knew the difficulties attending it; he distinguished accurately between the various modifications which, in different ages of the church, have been introduced in the doctrine of the Trinity. He saw, through Robinson's work, that it was deficient in precision, that the writer was evidently not orthodox, that, in departing from orthodoxy, he had not formed in his own mind any clear conception of the character of Christ as the son of God. Stonhouse, on the contrary, saw in him only some keen and spirited attacks on those who defended the strict unity of God as incapable of being divided among persons; and he conceived him therefore to be a defender of the Trinity. We might perhaps add, that the doctor himself seems to have formed as incomplete a notion on this subject as the advocate he commends in this controversy. Orton would not have been surprised at seeing Robinson united with Priestley, but he probably would have told his friend Stonhouse, that the defence of the doctrines of the Trinity' was far more likely to create disbelievers than all the works that Priestley had dispersed over the world.

Dr. Stonhouse gives us another instance of his inaccuracy. . : Since I have been here, I have read the two first volumes of Robertson's History of America. Very excellent! He is to publish two more volumes, in order to bring it down to the present times. I see plainly he will side with the Americans against the ministry. Surely the dissenters are very highly to blame thus to oppose government.' Vol. i. p. 118.

The good doctor forgets that the term dissenter is not applicable to a member of the church of Scotland, which is as deci. sively established by the laws of the land in the north as the church of England in the southern part of the island. His remark on franks is in a better style.

" I received your letter in sir P. Hales's frank, which I sent you. But never send a single letter in a frank: that is like walking in boots; which whoever does, walks in effect in shoes of a guinea or five-andtwenty shillings a pair.' Vol. ii. P.146.

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