Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

in cunningly diverting, or cleverly retorting an objection : sometimes it is couched in a bold scheme of speech ; in a tart irony; in a lusty hyperbole; in a startling metaphor; in a plausible reconciling of contradictions, or in acute nonsense : sometimes a scenical representation of persons or things; a counterfeit speech; a mimical look or gesture passeth for it: sometimes an affected simplicity, sometimes a presumptuous bluntness giveth it being: sometimes it · riseth only from a lucky hitting upon what is strange;

sometimes from a crafty wrestling obvious matter to the purpose : often it consists in one knows not what, and springeth up one can hardly tell how. Its ways are unaccountable and inexplicable, being answerable to the numberless rovings of fancy and windings of language. It is, in short, a manner of speaking out of the simple and plain way (such as reason teacheth and proveth things by) which by a pretty surprizing uncoutliness in conceit or expression doth affect and amuse the fancy, stirring in it some wonder, and breeding some delight thereto. It raiseth admiration, as signifying a nimible sagacity of ap. prehension, a special felicity of invention, a vivacity of spirit, and reach of wit more than vulgar. It seemeth to argue a rare quickness of parts, that one can fetch in remote conceits applicable; a notable skill, that he can dexterously accommodate them to the purpose before him, together with a lively briske

VOL. III. ' Ee

ness of humour, not apt to damp thicse soortful flashes of imagination. Whene: in Alicis si h persons are termeu erode forb, dexterous met id EUT porrob, men of facile or versatile manners, who can easily turn themselves to all things, or thic! things to themselves. It also procureth ori y gratifying curiosity with its rareness or so dilo of difficulty; as monsters, not for the r berisur, but their rarity ; as juggling tricks, not for t il.€, þut their abstruseness, are belield with pleat' ; by diverting the mind from its road of serious to ights; by instilling gaiety and airiness of spicy, by provoking to such dispositions of spirit in way oi emu· lation or complaisance ; and by seasoning matters,

otherwise distasteful or insipid, with an unusual, and thence grateful tang.

The sermons of Dr. Barrow were of an unusual length, even for the time in which he lived. He seldom employed less than an hour and a half in delivering a discourse; and on one occasion in particular, he preached a charity sermon at the Spital, before the lord mayor and aldermen, which lasted three hours and a half. Being asked, on descending from the pulpit, whether he was not tired, he replied; “Yes indeed, I began to be weary with standing so long." ...

Being chaplain to Charles II. his majesty was accustomed facetiously to style him an unfair preacher; because he exhausted every subject, and left nothing to be said by others. He does indeed view his subject in a great variety of lights. There is always an abundance of thoughts, and thoughts, to the justness of which, taken separately, we in general feel little difficulty in assenting; but we are hurried from flower to flower too rapidly to have time to imbibe the honey to be derived from each; the multitude of objects which are crowded upon us distracts the attention, and having surveyed the whole, we can settle upon none. I do not mean to say, there are not many admirable passages in Barrow. The above definition of wit is probably the most wonderful passage to be met with in any language. A certain portion of fancy, perhaps, it would be unjust to deny him ; but it is by no means the general characteristic of his writings; and he has not a particle of that higher degree of it, which we usually denominate imagination. Barrow was undoubtedly a man of a powerful une derstanding. In the mathematical sciences he was only inferior to Newton; but his mindwas too early preoccupied, not to say absorbed, by mathematical studies, for him afterwards to acquire that peculiar delicacy of tact, essential to the successful contemplation of moral phenomena.

I shall conclude these few remarks, by noticing a memorable observation of Dr. Barrow, which will serve to characterise at once the intellectual and the moral constitution of his mind. It is, that “A strait line is the shortest in morals, as well as in geometry.”

BUNYAN.

JOHN BUNYAN, the well-known author of the Pilgrim's Progress, was born at Elstow, within a mile of Bedford, 1628. His origin was very humble, his father being a tinker ; in which occupation himself was also brought up. In his early years he seemed to manifest an inherent depravity, and was particularly addicted to cursing and swearing. But being re-' claimed (as he says himself) by a voice from heaven, he began to read the Scriptures with great zeal, and soon became as remarkable for enthusiastic piety as he had been before for vulgar profaneness. In the year 1671, he became pastor of a Calvinistic congregation at Bedford. He died at the age of sisty, in 1688.

« НазадПродовжити »