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bigoted faith and slavish obedience; and the roar and dashing of opinions, loosened from their accustomed hold, might be heard like the noise of an angry sea, and has never yet subsided. Germany first broke the spell of misbegotten fear, and gave the watchword; but England joined the shout, and echoed it back, with her island voice, from her thousand cliffs and craggy shores, in a longer and a louder strain. With that cry, the genius of Great Britain rose, and threw down the gauntlet to the nations. There was a mighty fermentation: the waters were out; public opinion was in a state of projection. Liberty was held out to all to think and speak the truth. Men's brains were busy; their spirits stirring; their hearts full; and their hands not idle. Their eyes were opened to expect the greatest things, and their ears burned with curiosity and zeal to know the truth, that the truth might mate them free. The death-blow which had been struck at scarlet vice and bloated hypocrisy, loosened their tongues, and made the talismans and love-tokens of Popish superstition, with which she had beguiled her followers and committed abominations with the people, fall harmless from their necks.
The translation of the Bible was the chief engine in the great work. It threw open, by a secret spring, the rich treasures of religion and morality, which had been there locked up as in a shrine. It revealed the visions of the prophets, and conveyed the lessons of inspired teachers to the meanest of the people. It gare them a common interest in a common cause. Their hearts burnt within them * they read. It gave a mind to the people, by giving them common subjects of thought and feeling. It cemented their union of character and sentiment; it created endless diversity and collision of opinion. They found objects to employ their faculties, and a motive in the magnitude of the consequences attached to them, to exert the utmost cagerness in the pursuit of truth, and the most daring intrepidity in maintaining it. Religious controversy sharpens the understanding by the subtlety and remoteness of the topics it discusses, and embraces the will by their infinite importance. We perceive in the history of this period a nervous masculine intellect. No levity, no feebleness, no indifference; or, if there were, it is a relatation from the intense activity which gives a tone to its general character. But there is a gravity approaching to piety; a seriousness of impression, a conscientious severity of argument, an habitual fervour and enthusiasm in their method of handling almost every subject. The debates of the schoolmen were sharp and subtle enough; but they wanted interest and grandeur, and were besides confined to a fev: they did not affect the general mass of the community. But the Bible was throw open to all ranks and conditions “to run and read," with its wonderful table of contents from Genesis to the Revelations. Every village in England would present the scene so well described in Burns's Cotter's Saturday Night.' I cannot think that all this variety and weight of knowledge could be thrown in all at once upon the minds of the people and not make some impression upon it, the traces of which might be discerned in the manners and literature of the age. For, to leave more disputable points, and take only the historical parts of the Old Testament, or the moral sentiments of the New, there is nothing like them in the power of exciting awe and admiration, or of riveting sympathy. We see what Milton has made of the account of the Creation, from the manner in which he has treated it, imbued and impregnated with the spirit of the time of which we speak. Or what is there equal (in that romantic interest and patriarchal simplicity which goes to the heart of a country, and rouses it, as it were, from its lair in wastes and wildnesses) equal to the story of Joseph and his Brethren, of Rachael and Laban, of Jacob's Dream, o Ruth and Boaz, the descriptions in the book of Job, the deliverance of the Jews out of Egypt, or the account of their captivity and returu from Babylon? There is, in all these parts of the Scripture, and numberless more of the same kind--to pass over the Orphic hymns of David, the prophetic denunciations of Isaiah, or the gorgeous visions of Ezekielman originality, a vastness of conception, a depth and tenderness of feeling, and a touching simplicity in the mode of narration, which he who does not feel need be made of no “penetrable stuff." There is something in the character of Christ too (leaving religious faith quite out of the question) of more sweetness and majesty, and more likely to work a change in the mind of man, by the contemplation of its idea alone, than any to be found in history whether actual or feigned. This character is that of a sublime humanity, such as was never seen on earth before, nor since. This shone manifestly both in his words and actions. We see it in his washing the Disciples' feet the night before his death, that unspeakable instance of humility and love, above all art, all meanness, and all pride ; and in the leave he took of them on that occasion, “My peace I give unto you, that peace which the world cannot give, give I unto you;" and in his last commandment, that “they should love one another.” Who can read the account of his behaviour on the cross, when turning to his mother he said, “Woman, behold thy son,” and to the Disciple John, “Behold thy mother," and " from that hour that Disciple • took her to his own home," without having his heart smote within him! We see it in his treatment of the woman taken in adultery, and in his excuse for the woman who poured precious ointment on his garment as an offering of devotion and love, which is here all in all. His religion was the religion of the heart. We see it in his discourse with the Disciples as they walked together towards Emmaus, when their hearts burned within them; in his Sermon from the Mount, in his parable of the good Samaritan, and in that of the Prodigal Son-in every act and word of his life, a grace, a mildness, a dignity and love, a patience and wisdom worthy of the Son of God. His whole life and being were imbued, steeped, in this word, charity : it was the spring, the well-head, from which every thought and feeling gushed into act; and it was this that breathed a mild glory from his face in that last agony upon the cross, “when the meek Saviour bowed his head and died," praying for his enemies. He was the first true teacher of morality; for he alone conceived the idea of a pure humanity. He redeemed man from the worship of that idol, self, and instructed him by precept and example to love his neighbour as himself, to forgive our enemies, to do good to those that curse us and despitefully use us. He taught the love of good for the sake of good, without regard to personal or sinister views, and made the affections of the heart the sole seat of morality, instead of the pride of the understanding or the sternness of the will. In answering the question, “who is our neighbour?" as one who stands in need of our assistance, and whose wounds We can bind up, he has done more to humanize the thoughts, and tame the unruly passions, than all who have tried to reform and benefit mankind. The very idea of abstract benevolence, of the desire to do good because another wants our services, and of regarding the human race as one family, the offspring of one common parent, is hardly to be found in any other code or system. It was “ to the Jews a stumbling-block, and to the Greeks foolishness." The Greeks and Romans never thought of considering others, but as they were Greeks or Romans, as they were bound to them by certain positive ties, or, on the other hand, as separated from them by fiercer antipathies. Their virtues were the virtues of political machines, their vices were the vices of demons, ready to inflict or to endure pain with obdurate and renaorseless inflexibility of purpose. But in the Christian religion "we perceive a softness coming over the heart of a nation, and the iron scales that fence and harden it melt and drop off.” It becomes malleable, capable of pity, of forgiveness, of relaxing in its claims, and remitting its power. We strike it and it does not hurt us: It is not steel or marble, but flesh and blood, clay tempered with tears, and "soft as sinews of the new-born babe." The Gospel was first preached to the poor, for it
consulted their wants and interests, not its own pride and arrogance. It first promulgated the equality of mankind in the community of duties and benefits. It denounced the iniquities of the chief-priests and Pharisees, and declared itself at variance with principalities and powers, for it sympathizes not with the oppressor, but the oppressed. It first abolished slavery, for it did not consider the power of the will to inflict injury, as clothing it with a right to do so. Its law is good, Dot power. It at the same time tended to wean the mind from the grossness of sepse, and a particle of its divine flame was lent to brighten and purify the lamp of love!
There have been persons who, being sceptics as to the divine mission of Christ, have taken an unaccountable prejudice to his doctrines, and have been disposed to deny the merit of his character; but this was not the feeling of the great men in the age of Elizabeth (whatever might be their belief) one of whom says of him, with a boldness equal to its piety,
“ The best of men
The first true gentleman that ever breathed." This was old honest Deckar, and the lines ought to embalm his memory to every one who has a sense either of religion, or philosophy, or humanity, or true genius. Nor can I help thinking, that we may discern the traces of the influence exerted by religious faith in the spirit of the poetry of the age of Elizabeth, in the means of exciting terror and pity, in the delineations of the passions of grief, remorse, love, sympathy, the sense of shame, in the fond desires, the longings after immortality, in the heaven of hope and the abyss of despair it lays open to us.
The literature of this age then, I would say, was strongly influenced (among other causes), first by the spirit of Christianity, and secondly by the spirit of Protestantism.
The effects of the Reformation on politics and philosophy may be seen in the writings and history of the next and of the following ages. They are still at work, and will continue to be so. The effects on the poetry of the time were chiefly confined to the moulding of the character, and giving a powerful impulse to the intellect of the country. The immediate use or application that was made of religion to subjects of imagination and fiction was not (from an obvious ground of separation) so direct or frequent, as that which was made of the classical and romantic literature.
For, much about the same time, the rich and fascinating stores of the Greek and Roman mythology, and those of the romantic poetry of Spain and Italy, were eagerly explored by the curious, and thrown open in translations to the admiring gaze of the vulgar. This last circumstance could hardiy have afforded so much advantage to the poets of that day, who were themselves, in fact, the translators, as it shers the general curiosity and increasing interest in such subjects as a prevailing feature of the times. There were translations of Tasso by Fairfax, and of Ariosto by Harrington, of Homer and Hesiod by Chapman, and of Virgil long before, and Ovid soon after; there was Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch, of which Shakespear has made such admirable use in his Coriolanus and Julius Cæsar; and Ben Jonson's tragedies of Catiline and Sejanus may themselves be considered as almost literal translations into verse of Tacitus, Sallust, and Cicero's Orations in his consulship. Petrarch, Dante, the satirist Aretine, Machiavel, Castiglion, and others, were familiar to our writers, and they make occasional mention of some few French authors, as Ronsard and Du Bartas; for the French literature had not at this stage arrived at its Augustan period, and it was the imitation of their literature a century afterwards, when it had arrived at its greatest height (itself copied from the Greek and Latin), that enfeebled and in poverished our own. But of the time that we are
considering it might be said, without much extravagance, that every breath that blew, that every wave that rolled to our shores, brought with it some accession to our knowledge, which was engrafted on the national genius.
What also gave an unusual impetus to the mind of men at this period was the discovery of the New World, and the reading of voyages and travels. Green islands and golden sands seemed to arise, as by enchantment, out of the bosom of the watery waste, and invite the cupidity, or wing the imagination of the dreaming speculator. Fairy land was realized in new and unknown worlds. “Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales, thrice happy isles," were found floating, “ like those Hesperian gardens famed of old," beyond Atlantic seas, as dropt from the zenith. The people, the soil, the clime, every thing gave unlimited scope to the curiosity of the traveller and reader. Other manners might be said to enlarge the bounds of knowledge, and new mines of wealth were tumbled at our feet. It is from a voyage to the Straits of Magellan that Shakespear has taken the hint of Prospero's Enchanted Island, and of the savage Caliban with his god Setebos. Spenser seems to have had the same feeling in his mind in the production of his Faery Queen.
MACHIAVELLI. [NICOLO MACHIAVELLI was born at Florence in 1469. He died in 1527. We are accustomed to hear people talk and write of Machiavellian policy, by which they mean something most abominably tyrannical and dishonest, and hence infer that Machiavelli had the unenvi. able distinction of being the systematic propagator of such principles. His active life was wholly occupied with missions connected with the politics of the Florentine Republic. His numerous writings are chiefly upon subjects which we may describe as political philosophy. An eminent critic has said that, although it is “scarcely possible for any person not well ac. quainted with the history and literature of Italy to read without horror and amazement, the celebrated treatise (* The Prince') which has brought so much obloquy on the name of Machiavelli;" yet, “ few writings exhibit so much elevation of sentiment, so pure and warm A zeal for the public good, or so just a view of the duties and rights of citizens as those of Machiavelli." To those who would rightly understand the nature and causes of the contradictions which are so perplexing in the writings of Machiavelli, we would recommend an article of Mr. Macaulay's, in the Edinburgh Review,' reprinted in his Critical and Historical Essays.' The following specimen, which we give from the Discourses of this celebrated writer, is entitled, “How he that would succeed must accommodate to the times." There are several translations of Machiavelli: our extract is from the folio of 1680.]
I have many times considered with myself that the occasion of every man's good or bad fortune consists in his correspondence and accommodation with the times. We see some people acting furiously, and with an impetus; others with more slowness and caution; and because both in the one and the other they are immoderate. and do not observe their just terms, therefore both of them do err ; but their error and misfortune is least, whose customs suit and correspond with the times ; and who comports himself in his designs according to the impulse of his own nature. Every one can tell how Fabius Maximus conducted his army, and with what carefulness and caution he proceeded, contrary to the ancient heat and boldness of the Romans, and it happened that grave way was more conformable to those times; for Hannibal, coming young and brisk into Italy, and being elated with his good fortune, as having twice defeated the armies of the Romans, that commonwealth having lost most of her best soldiers, and remaining in great fear and confusion, nothing could have happened more seasonably to them, than to have such a general who, by his caution and cunctation, could keep the enemy at bay. Nor could any times have been more fortunate to his way of proceeding; for that that slow and deliberate way was natural in Fabius, and not affected, appeared afterwards, when Scipio, being desirous to pass his army into Africa to give the finishing blow to the war, Fabius opposed it most earnestly, as one who could not force or dissemble his nature, which was rather to support wisely against the difficulties that were upon him, than to search out for new. So that had Fabius directed, Hannibal had continued in Italy, and the reason was because he did not consider the times were altered and the method of the war was to be changed with them. And if Fabius at that time had been king of Rome, he might well have been worsted in the war, as not knowing how to frame his counsels according to the variation of the times. But there being in that commonwealth so many brave men, and excellent commanders, of all sorts of tempers and humours, fortune would have it, that as Fabius was ready, in hard and difficult times, to sustain the enemy and continue the war ; so afterwards, when affairs were in a better posture, Scipio was presented to finish and conclude it. And hence it is that an aristocracy or free state is longer lived, and generally more fortunate, than a principality, because in the first they are more flexible, and can frame themselves better to the diversity of the times : for a prince, being accustomed to one way, is hardly to be got out of it, though perhaps the variation of the times require it very much. Piero Soderino (whom I have mentioned before) proceeded with great gentleness and humanity in all his actions; and he and his country prospered whilst the times were according; but when the times changed, and there was a necessity of laying aside that meekness and humility, Piero was at a loss, and he and his country were both ruined.
Pope Julius XI., during the whole time of his papacy, carried himself with great vigour and vehemence; and because the times were agrecable, he prospered in every thing ; but had the times altered, and required other counsels, he had certainly been ruined, because he could never have complied. And the reason why we cannot change so easily with the times, is twofold ; first, because we cannot readily oppose ourselves against what we naturally desire ; and next, because when we have often tried one way, and have always been prosperous, we can never persuade ourselves we could do so well any other; and this is the true cause why a prince's fortune varies so strangely, because she varies the times, but he does not alter the way of his administration. And it is the same in a commonwealth ; if the variation of the times be not observed, and their laws and customs altered accordingly, many mischiefs must follow, and the government be ruined, as we have largely demonstrated before ; but those alterations of their laws are more slow in a commonwealth, be. cause they are not so easily changed, and there is a necessity of such times as may shake the whole state, to which one man will not be sufficient, let him change his proceedings, and take new measures as he pleases.
136.-HAPPINESS IN SOLITUDE.
J. J. ROUSSEAU. [Who can attempt, in a few lines, to give the least adequate notion of the character of Jean Jacques Rousseau, the watch-maker's son of Geneva, who, during the last thirty years of an unsettled, and, to all ordinary perceptions, an unhappy life, poured forth a stream of thought which, sometimes fertilizing and sometimes destructive, produced greater changes in the European mind than the published opinions of any other man of his age? Jean Jacques may be neglected, but he can never be forgotten. His follies, his meannesses, his insane vanity, his causeless jealousies, disqualify him for the respect of the generations who have succeeded him; but these very circumstances perhaps add to the interest which we tako in the individual man, and are utterly forgotten when we are under the enchantment of his impassioned eloqnence. Jean Jacques was born in 1712; he died in 1778. The following