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doctrine which he delivered ; and disinterestedness so per.' fect, as affords no slight presumption of his sincerity. Superior to all selfish considerations, a stranger to the ele. gancies of life, and despising its pleasures, he left the honours and emoluments of the church to his disciples; remaining satisfied himself in his original state of professor in the unie versity, and pastor to the town of Wittemburg, with the moderate appointments annexed to these offices.

His extraordinary qualities were alloyed with no inconsiderable mixture of human frailty, and human passions. These, however, were of such a nature, that they cannot be imputed to malevolence or corruption of heart, but seem to have taken their rise from the same source with many of his virtues. His mind, forcible and vehement in all its operations, roused by great objects, or agitated by violent passions, broke out, on many occasions, with an impetuosity which astonishes men of feebler spirits, or such as are placed in a more tranquil situation. By carrying some praiseworthy dispositions to excess, he bordered sometimes on what was culpable, and was often betrayed into actions which exposed him to censure. His confidence that his own opinions were well founded, approached to arrogance ; bis courage in asserting them, to rashness; his firmness in adhering to them, to obstinacy; and his zeal in confuting his adversaries, to rage and scurrili. ty. Accustomed himself to consider every thing as subordinate to truth, he expected the same deference for it from other men ; and, without making any allowances for their timidity or prejudices, he poured forth against those who disappointed him in this particular, a torrent of invective mingled with contempt. Regardless of any distinction of rank or character, when his doctrines were attacked, he chastised all his adversaries indiscriminately, with the same rough hand : neither the royal dignity of Henry VIII. nor the eminent learning and ability of Erasmus, screened them from the abuse with which he treated Tetzel or Eccius. But these indecencies of which Luther was guilty, must not be imputed wholly to the violence of his temper. They ought to be charged in part on the manners of the age. Among a rude people, unacquainted with those maxims, which, by putting continual restraint on the passions of individuals, have polished society, and rendered it agreeable, disputes of every kind were managed with heat ; and strong emotions were uttered in their natural language, without reserve or delicacy. At the same time, the works of learned men were

all composed in Latin ; and they were not only authorized, by the example of eminent writers in that language, to use their antagonists with the most illiberal scurrility ; but, in a dead tongue, indecencies of every kind appear less shocking than in a living language, whose idioms and phrases seem gross, because they are familiar.

In passing judgment upon the characters of men, we ought to try them by the principles and maxims of their own age, not by those of another. For although virtue and vice are at all times the same, manners and customs vary continually. Some parts of Luther's behaviour, which to us appear most culpable, gave no disgust to his contemporaries. It was even by some of those qualities which we are now apt to blame, that he was fitted for accomplishing the great work which he undertook. To rouse mankind, when sunk in ignorance or superstition, and to encounter the rage of bigotry armed with power, required the utmost vehemence of zeal, and a temper daring to excess. A gentle call would neither have reached, nor have excited those to whom it was addressed. A spirit more amiable, but less vigorous than Luther's, would have shrunk from the dangers which he braved and surmounted. Towards the close of Luther's life, though without a perceptible declension of his zeal or abilities, the infirmities of his temper increased upon him, so that he dai. ly grew more pcevish, more irascible, and more impatient of contradiction. Having lived to be witness of his own amazing success ; to see a great part of Europe embrace his doctrines, and to shake the foundation of the Papal throne, before which the mightiest monarchs had trembled; he discovered, on some occasions, symptoms of vanity and self-applause. He must have been indeed more than man, if, upon contemplating all that he actually accomplished, he had never felt any sentiment of this kind rising in bis breast.

Some time before his death he felt his strength declining, his constitution being worn out by a prodigious multiplicity of business, added to the labour of discharging his ministerial function with unremitting diligence, to the fatigue of constant study, besides the composition of works as volumin nous as if he had enjoyed uninterrupted leisure and retirement. His natural intrepidity did not forsake him at the apo proach of death. His last conversation with his friends, was concerning the happiness reserved for good men in a future world ; of which he spoke with the fervour and delight na tural to one, who expected and wished to enter soon upon the enjoyment of it.

F 2

ROBERTSON.

SECTION V.

The good and the bad man compared, in the season of adversity.

RELIGION prepares the mind for encountering, with fortitude, the most severe shocks of adversity ; whereas vice, by its natural influence on the temper, tends to produce de. jection under the slightest trials. · While worldly men en. large their possessions, and extend their connexions, they imagine that they are strengthening themselves against all the possible vicissitudes of life. They say in their hearts, “ My mountain stands strong, and I shall never be moved.” But so fatal is their delusion, that, instead of strengthening, they are weakening that which only can support them when those vicissitudes come. It is their mind which must then support them; and their mind, by their sensual attachments, is corrupted and enfeebled. Addicted with intemperate fondness to the pleasures of the world, they incur two great and certain evils : they both exclude themselves from every resource except the world; and they increase their sensi. bility to every blow which comes upon them from that quarter.

They have neither principles nor temper which can stand the assault of trouble. They have no principles which lead them to look beyond the ordinary rotation of events; and therefore, when misfortunes involve them, the prospect must be comfortless on every side. Their crimes have disqualified them from looking up to the assistance of any higb. er power than their own ability, or for relying on any better guide than their own wisdom. And as from principle they can derive no support, so in a temper corrupted by prosperity they find no relief. They have lost that moderation of mind which enables a wise man to accommodate himself to his situation. Long fed with false hopes, they are exasperated and stung by every disappointment. Luxurious and effeminate, they can bear no uneasiness. Proud and presumptuous, they can brook no opposition. By nourishing dispositions which so little suit this uncertain state, they have infused a double portion of bitterness into the cup of wo; they have sharpened the edge of that sword which is lifted up to smite them. Strangers to all the températe satisfactions of a good and a pure mind ; strangers to every pleasure, except what was seasoned by vice or vanity, their ad. :

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versity is to the last degree disconsolate. Health and opu. lence were the two pillars on which they rested. Shake either of them, and their whole edifice of hope and comfort falls. Prostrate and forlorn, they are left on the ground; obliged to join with the man of Ephraim, in his abject lamentation, “ They have taken away my gods, which I have made, and what have I more ?"-Such are the causes to which we must ascribe the broken spirits, the peevish temper, and impatient passions, that so often attend the declining age, or falling fortunes, of vicious men. • But how different is the condition of a truly good man, in those trying situations of life ! Religion had gradually prepared his mind for all the events of this inconstant state. It had instructed him in the nature of true happiness. It had early weaned him from an undue love of the world, by discovering to him its vanity, and by setting higher prospects in his view. Aflictions do not attack him by surprise, and therefore do not overwhelm him. He was equipped for the storm, as well as the calm, in this dubious navigation of life. Under these conditions he knew himself to be brought hither; that he was not always to retain the enjoyment of what he loved : and therefore he is not overcome by disappointment, when that which is mortal, dies; when that which ia mutable, begins to change ; and when that wbich he knew to be transient, passes away.

All the principles which religion teaches, and all the habits which it forms, are favourable to strength of mind. It will be found, that whatever purifies, fortifies also the heart. In the course of living “righteously, soberly, and piously," a good man acquires a steady and well-governed spirit. Trained, by Divine grace, to enjoy with moderation the advantages of the world, neither lifted up by success, nor enervated with sensuality, he meets the changes in his lot without unmanly dejection. He is inured to temperance and restraint. He has learned firmness and self-command. He is accustomed to look up to that Supreme Providence, which disposes of human affairs, not with reverence only, but with trust and hope.

The time of prosperity was to him not merely a season of barren joy, but productive of much useful improvement. He had cultivated his inind. He had stored it with useful knowledge, with good principles, and virtuous dispositions. These resources remain entire, when the days of trouble come. They remain with him in sickness, as in health ; in poverty, as in the midst of riches; in his dark and solitary hours, no less than when surrounded with friends and gay society. From the glare of prosperity, he can, without dejection, withdraw into the shade. Excluded from several advantages of the world, he may be obliged to retract into a narrower circle ; but within that circle he will find many comforts left. His chief pleasures were always of the calm, innocent, and temperatą kind; and over these, the i changes of the world have the least power. His mind is a kingdom to him ; and he can still enjoy it. The world did not bestow upon him all bis enjoyments; and therefore it is not in the power of the world, by its most cruel attacks, tọ carry them all away.

BLAIR.

CHAPTER V.

PATHETIC PIECES.

SECTION I.

Rome saved by female virtue. CORIOLANUS was a distinguished Roman Senator and General, who had rendered eminent services to the Republic. But these services were no security against envy and popular prejudices. He was at length treated with great severity and ingratitude, by the senate and people of Rome; and obliged to leave his country to preserve his life. Of a haughty and indignant spirit, he resolved to avenge himself; and, with this view, applied to the Volscians, the enemies of Rome, and tendered them his services against his native country. The offer was cordially embraced, and Coriolanus was made general of the Volscian army. He recovered from the Romans all the towns they had taken from the Volsci ; carried by assault several cities in Latium ; and led his troops within five miles of the city of Rome. After several unsuccessful embassies from the senate, all hope of pacifying the

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