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cism rather in a contracted view, with reference to its effects in a particular direction, (namely, in sectarian quarrels,) than in its substantive character, as a canker of the human heart. It is forgotten, that in an enlightened age, execution followed execution, until towns and villages were actually rendered desolate. The lowest ministers of justice became rich by the massacres they were called on to perpetrate. Nor has it been sufficiently shown how the comparative mildness of darker ages was succeeded by refinements of cruelty, derived from a perverted sense of religion. The vulgar clamour, on this as on other subjects, was easily raised, and as easily silenced by a few examples. The spirit of persecution was not so readily satisfied. Victims were immured, as in the cells of the Inquisition, for long years, under repeated examination as to some frivolous and absurd fact which they persisted in denying; the ingenuity of artists was set at work to devise new engines, for the purpose of wrenching falsehood from them; and domestic treachery was put in action, in order to circumvent those more exalted victims, who could not be crushed by the same summary process which was applied to accused persons of the ordinary class. And it is especially remarkable, during the later period of this superstition, that the actions laid to the charge of the suspected were not generally of a very grievous kind, or productive of extensive mischief; they were not of a nature to excite the anger of the multitude, a fact of great importance, as it proves that they were enquired into chiefly as the overt acts of the imputed mental heresy; and that witchcraft was punished more as a religious error than as a civil crime.

- Assuredly we do not dwell upon these unfortunate prostrations of the human intellect with any perverse desire to attribute to Christianity enormities, of which the guilt lies upon our nature alone; but, in order to show how closely rancour accompanies perverted views of supernatural things, not in this or that sect only, but wherever reigning circumstances or opinions have given too wide a scope to the enthusiasm they engender. This is one of the most important steps in the progress of the humble and zealous enquirer, towards comprehending the all-important lesson of toleration; a lesson of all others the most difficult to acquire, and which, when he has learnt it, will, alas! but expose him to the suspicion and dislike of many of those whose good opinion he is most anxious to gain.

It is but a step from the Fanaticism of the Brand to the Fanaticism of the Sword, or of conquest for the sake of religion; but no two subjects of contemplation, so nearly allied in reality, can produce a stronger contrast in the mind. We feel as if we

had just emerged from the cells of some unwholesome dungeon, our hearts still oppressed with the clinging horrors of the vault

Fuor dell' aura morta,

Che c'avea contristato gl' occhi e'l petto,'

into a wide plain covered with the pomp and circumstance of war, under the free light of heaven, glancing on the steeled ranks of the Crusaders, or the multitudinous array of the Caliphs,

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That world of tents and domes, and sun-bright armoury.'

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But we cannot afford space to do justice to this portion of our author's labours, or to his last head, Fanaticism of the Symbol, or of creeds, dogmatism, and ecclesiastical violence.' Indeed, although, as is observed by himself, this is by far the most important form which the passion assumes, when considered with reference to the manners and polity of modern communities; yet the reader will not find much more matter applicable to present times and feelings in this, than in the former divisions of the essay. A great part of it is taken up by a historical dissertation on the characters of Athanasius and Jerome. The vexata questio of Terms of Communion is just touched upon, in our author's usual fearful method of approaching a difficulty, but with some moderate and judicious remarks; and we extract the following passage, as it appears to us to notice a characteristic of the modern religious world, which has not been sufficiently attended to: A singular revolution has marked the progress of religious sentiment among us within the last few years; and it is this, that, while the tendency to admit enthu'siastic or fanatical sentiments belonged, till of late, almost ex'clusively to the lower and uneducated classes, it has recently ⚫ deserted the quarters of poverty and ignorance, and taken hold ' of those who are clothed in purple, and frequent palaces. Religious sentiments in a highly excited state, and not counterpoised by the vulgar cares and sorrows of humble life-not taught common sense by common occasions, is little likely to stop short at mere enthusiasm: the fervour almost of necessity ❝ becomes fanatical. The progress of the feelings in such cases is not difficult to be divined. That sensitiveness to public opi ❝nion, and that nice regard to personal reputation, and that keen consciousness of ridicule, which belong to the upper classes, and upon which their morality is chiefly founded, tend, in the in'stance of the pious oligarch, to generate vivid resentments, when he feels that, having overstepped the boundaries of good sense and sobriety, he has drawn upon himself the public laugh. The ⚫ intolerable glance of scorn from his peers, to which he has found * himself exposed, must be-not retorted indeed—not avenged→



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but yet returned in some manner compatible with religious ideas. It is at this very point of commuted revenge that fana'ticism takes its rise. Interpretations the most excessive, ex'pectations the most dire, comminations the most terrible, and a line of conduct arrogantly absurd, set wounded patrician pride again upon its due elevation, repair the damage it has sustained, and surround it with a hedge of thorns.'


We do not know whether the picture here drawn of the motives attributed to a class among us, may not be somewhat overcharged, or applicable only in a very small number of instances; but the fact itself is well worthy of attention, that since the revival of devotional feeling, which followed the French Revolution, not only fanaticism, which is the error of a few, but the enthusiasm out of which it arises, and which is common to many, are more prevalent in the upper than the lower ranks of society. What may be the cause of this diversity, we do not pretend to investigate. Perhaps the truth may be, as our author suggests, that the mutations which we have seen in the government of the world, have given rise to a feeling of insecurity, which naturally leads the mind to turn to supernatural consolations for support. But it is of importance to observe, that although the prevailing sentiments of the upper classes will always give a certain tone and fashion to those of the lower, yet such an outward show of religion as arises from this circumstance is but a bad security for its real prevalence, even in a country where Old Bailey audiences shudder at an avowal of atheism, and Trades' Unions promulgate their decrees in the name of Christ. It is therefore, we think, matter of serious concern, that there appears to exist at present a much stricter feeling with respect to religious observances, in the former than in the latter division of the community;-among those who make the laws, than among those who obey them. Should this tendency increase so far (which perhaps is not a very likely subject of apprehension) as to render successful any endeavours to enforce rigorous habits by penal laws of a character unsuited to the public mind, we should be more fearful of the possible results to religion from such misplaced severity, than from the utmost laxity of restraint. Nothing seems to us more dangerous than a state of things in which the law exacts observances which national habits do not countenance.

In conclusion, we have no doubt that the present work will acquire the same sort of popularity, among the same class of readers, with the former productions of this author. There are many who are fond of discussions on religious subjects in which every difficult point is taken for granted; who are delighted with an exhi

bition of declamatory skill,―a panegyrical or vituperative oration clad with the argumentative form and title of an essay. There is also, we are sorry to add, a large and perhaps increasing number who are captivated with the florid style of diction, of which this author is no contemptible professor. But we cannot part from him without admitting that he has displayed extensive research in a curious, although not very profitable branch of religious history. And though we have thought ourselves called upon to animadvert upon the spirit which now and then breaks through the surface of his pages, we should be uncandid not to allow that their general character is moderate and impartial, as well as pious; that he seems actuated by a sincere desire to heal, as far as in him lies, the breaches of the Christian commonwealth; and to point out as subjects of rational rejoicing, those few steps which the world seems to have gained in its dark and vacillating progress towards better and nobler views of religion.

ART. III.-Lives of the most Eminent British Painters, Sculptors, and Architects. By ALLAN CUNNINGHAM. 6 vols. 12mo. London: 1830-1-2-3.

T HIS is a very entertaining collection of biography-entertaining, much to the author's credit, in spite of the barrenness of the subject. The lives of painters are comparatively uneventful their professional achievements have scarcely any influence upon the more important interests of society-and their works, however charming, have little interest in description. Nevertheless Mr Cunningham, by a lively style, the frequent interspersion of anecdote, much judicious quotation from good writers, and a prominent exhibition of his personages in their literary and social capacities, wherever circumstances admitted, has produced six volumes, containing more amusing reading, of a biographical kind, than it has often been our fortune to meet with. Perhaps it may be objected, that his anecdotes are sometimes trivial, irrelevant, and superfluous. For example-and this example shall suffice of the forgetfulness of the Rev. Samuel Reynolds, the father of Sir Joshua, it is said, that in performing a journey on 'horseback, one of his boots dropt off by the way, without being ' missed by the owner; and of his wit-for wit also has been ascribed to him!-it is related, that in allusion to his wife's name,

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'Theophila, he made the following rhyming domestic arrange{ment,

• When I say The,

Thou must make tea;
When I say Offey,

Thou must make coffee."

As for the former of these anecdotes, it is probably a fabrication; perhaps sportively attributed, without the expectation of being seriously believed. Boot and stirrup must have been as remarkable in their idiosyncrasy as the worthy divine, and must have strangely conspired with absence of mind, to make any part of the story possible. As for the latter, though the Rev. Samuel Reynolds might, without serious impeachment of his understanding, improvise such nonsense to his wife and children by his own fireside, we think he would have marvelled not a little at the labor ineptiarum of succeeding ages, if he could have been told that nearly a hundred years afterwards, a biographer would insert, re- vise, print, correct, and publish such trash for the edification of the nineteenth century.

It may also be objected, that partialities and prejudices are but too apparent in this work. Some persons are the objects of eulogy, others of a dislike, which nothing recorded in the text appears to justify. Reynolds is evidently the object of ill-will. Praise is grudgingly bestowed, and censure industriously inserted, even sometimes at the expense of consistency. If a good trait is mentioned, it must be immediately neutralized by something unfavourable; and a qualification must be inserted in the midst of the praise, which makes it scarcely of any value. Thus -Reynolds was commonly humane and tolerant; he could in'deed afford, both in fame and in purse, to commend and aid the 'timid and the needy. When Gainsborough asked sixty guineas for his Girl and Pigs, Sir Joshua gave him an hundred; and 'when another English artist of celebrity, on his arrival from Rome, asked him where he should set up a studio, he informed ' him that the next house to his own was vacant, and at his ser'vice.' Mark how Sir Joshua's merit is studiously lessened. He could afford' to do these gracious actions! Mr Cunningham has nevertheless, in another place, made Reynolds jealous of this same Gainsborough, whom he could thus afford' to encourage. But lest the qualifying clause should not sufficiently lower our estimation of Reynolds, we are told immediately afterwards, that 'he could be sharp and bitter on occasions;' and that one day, 'fixing his eye on a female portrait by a young and trembling practitioner, he roughly exclaimed, "What's this in your hand?

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