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one, except in those few extreme cases, where there appeared a moral necessity of “rebuking sharply" for the good of the offender. His kindness to children, to servants, to the indigent, nay, to animals, was uniformly manifest. And such was his prevailing cheerfulness, that he seemed to move and breathe in an atmosphere of hilarity, which, indeed, his countenance always indicated, except when the pain in his back affected his spirits, and caused his imagination to dwell upon the evils of Cambridgeshire scenery.' pp. 40, 41.
• When I first became known to Mr. Hall, he had recently determined to revise and extend his knowledge in every department, “ to re-arrange the whole furniture of his mind, and the economy of his habits,” and to become a thorough student. He proposed devoting six hours a day to reading; but these, unless his friends sought after him, were often extended to eight or nine. He thought himself especially defective in a tasteful and critical acquaintance with the Greek poets; and said, he should “once more begin at the beginning." He set to work, therefore, upon the best treatises on the Greek metres then extant. He next read the Iliad and Odyssey twice over, critically; proceeded with equal care through nearly all the tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides; and thence extended his classical reading in all directions. To the Latin and Greek poets, orators, historians, and philosophers, he devoted a part of every day for three or four years. He studied them as a scholar, but he studied them also as a moralist and a philosopher; so that, while he appreciated their peculiarities and beauties with his wonted taste, and carefully improved his style of writing and his tone of thinking, by the best models which they present, he suffered them not to deteriorate the accuracy of his judgement in comparing their value with that of the moderns. Perhaps, however, this assertion should be a little qualified: for not only at the period of which I am now speaking, but, in great measure, through life, while he spoke of the Greek and Latin poetry, in accordance with the sentiments and feelings of every competent classical scholar, he, with very few exceptions, unduly depreciated the poetry of the present times.
• Much as he delighted in classical literature, he was by no means inclined, nor could he have reconciled it with his notions of duty, to circumscribe his reading within its limits. The early Christian fathers, the fathers of the Reformation, the theological writers, both puritan and episcopalian, of the seventeenth century, the most valuable authors on a similar topics down to the present time, including the most esteemed French preachers, were all perused with his characteristic avidity: what was most valuable in them became fixed in his unusually retentive memory; and numerous marginal and other references in the most valuable of his books, prove at once the minuteness and closeness of his attention, and his desire to direct his memory to the substances of thought, and not unnecessarily to load it with mere apparatus.
* Like many other men of letters, Mr. Hall, at this period, found the advantage of passing from one subject to another at short intervals, generally of about two hours: thus casting off the mental fatigue that one subject had occasioned, by directing his attention to
pp. 43, 44.
another, and thereby preserving the intellect in a state of elastic energy from the beginning to the end of the time devoted daily to study.
· Not long after he had entered upon this steady course of reading, he commenced the study of Hebrew, under Mr. Lyons, who then taught that language in the University. He soon became a thorough proficient in it; and, finding it greatly to increase his knowledge of the Old Testament, as well as of its relation to the New, and considerably to improve and enlarge the power of Scripture interpretation, he, from thence to the close of life, suffered scarcely a day to pass without reading a portion of the Old Testament in the original. This practice flowed naturally from one of his principles of action, namely, to go to the fountain-head for information, rather than to derive it from the streams; and from the continued application of that principle, it was found, that his habit of reading originals often impaired the accuracy of his quotation of passages from our authorised version, having, in fact, become m re familiar with the Hebrew and Greek texts than with any translation. This, which was often conjectured by some of his hearers at Cambridge, was amply confirmed by the subsequent observation of his intimate and much esteemed friend Mr. Ryley, at Leicester.'
• Mr. Hall did not permit his sedulous cultivation of the mind to draw him aside from the cultivation of the heart. The evidences were, indeed, very strong, that his preparation for ministerial duty was devotional as well as intellectual. Thus, his public services, by a striking gradation, for months and years, evinced an obvious growth, in mental power, in literary acquisition, and in the seriousness, affection, and ardour of a man of piety. His usefulness and his popularity increased; the church and congregation became considerably augmented ; and in 1798, it was found necessary to enlarge the place of worship, to accommodate about two hundred more persons.
• Early in the year 1799, a severe fever, which brought him, in his own apprehension, and that of his friends, to the brink of the grave, gave him an opportunity of experiencing the support yielded by the doctrines of the cross “ in the near views of death and judgement.” He“ never before felt his mind so calm and happy.” The impression was not only salutary, but abiding; and it again prompted him to the investigation of one or two points, with regard to which he had long felt himself floating in uncertainty. Although he had for some years steadily and earnestly enforced the necessity of divine influence in the transformation of character, and in perseverance in a course of consistent, holy, obedience, yet he spoke of it as “the influence of the spirit of God," and never in express terms, as “the influence of the Holy Spirit.” The reason was, that though he fully believed the necessity of spiritual agency in commencing and continuing the spiritual life, he doubted the doctrine of the distinct personality of the Holy Spirit. But about this time, he was struck with the fact, that, whenever in private prayer he was in the most deeply devotional frame, “most overwhelmed with the sense that he was nothing, and God was all in all,” he always felt himself inclined to adopt a trinitarian doxology. This circumstance, occurring frequently, and more frequently meditated upon in a tone of honest and anxious inquiry,
issued at length in a persuasion that the Holy Spirit is really and truly God, and not an emanation. It was not, however, until 1800, that he publicly included the personality of the Holy Spirit, in his statements of the doctrine of spiritual influence.'
· His prayers were remarkable for their simplicity and their devotional feeling: No person could listen to them without being persuaded, that he who uttered them was really engaged in prayer, was holding communion with his God and Father in Christ Jesus. His tones and his countenance throughout these exercises, were those of one most deeply imbued with a sense of his unworthiness, and throwing himself at the feet of the Great Eternal, conscious that he could present no claim for a single blessing, but the blood of atonement, yet animated by the cheering hope thet the voice of that blood would prevail. The structure of these prayers never indicated any preconceived plan. They were the genuine effusions of a truly devotional spirit, animated by a vivid recollection of what, in his own state, in that of the congregation, of the town and vicinity, needed most ardently to be laid before the Father of Mercies. Thus they were remarkably comprehensive, and furnished a far greater variety on the successive occasions of public worship, than those of any other minister whom I have ever known. The portions which were devoted to intercession, operated most happily in drawing the affections of his people towards himself; since they 'shewed how completely his Christian sympathy had prepared him to make their respective cases his own.
• The commencement of his sermons did not excite much expectation in strangers, except they were such as recollected how the mental agitation produced by diffidence, characterised the first sentences of some of the orators of antiquity. He began with hesitation, and often in a very low and feeble tone, coughing frequently, as though he were oppressed by asthmatic obstructions. As he proceeded, his manner became easy, graceful, and at length highly impassioned ; his voice also acquired more flexibility, body, and sweetness, and, in all his happier and more successful efforts, swelled into a stream of the most touching and impressive melody. The farther he advanced, the more spontaneous, natural, and free from labour, seemed the progression of thought. He announced the results of the most extensive reading, of the most patient investigation, or of the profoundest thinking, with such unassuming simplicity, yet set them in such a position of obvious and lucid reality, that the auditors wondered how things so simple and manifest should have escaped them. Throughout his sermons he kept his subject thoroughly in view, and so incessantly brought forward new arguments, or new illustrations, to confirm or to explain it, that with him amplification was almost invariably accumulative in its tendency. One thought was succeeded by another, and that by another, and another, each more weighty than the preceding, each more calculated to deepen and render permanent the ultimate impression. He could at pleasure adopt the unadorned, the ornamental, or the energetic; and indeed combine them in every diversity of modulation. In his higher flights, what he said of Burke, might, with the slightest deduction, be applied to himself, “ that his imperial fancy laid all nature under tribute, and collected riches from every scene of the
creation, and every walk of art ”; and at the same time, that could be affirmed of Mr. Hall, which could not be affirmed of Mr. Burke, that he never fatigued and oppressed by gaudy and superfluous imagery. Whenever the subject obviously justified it, he would yield the reins to an eloquence more diffusive and magnificent than the ordinary course of pulpit instruction seemed to require; yet, so exquisite was his perception of beauty, and so sound his judgement, that not the coldest taste, provided it were real taste, could ever wish an image omitted which Mr. Hall had introduced. His inexhaustible variety augmented the general effect. The same images, the same illustrations, scarcely ever recurred. So ample were his stores, that repetition of every kind was usually avoided ; while in his illustrations he would connect and contrast what was disjointed and opposed, or distinctly unfold what was abstracted or obscure, in such terms as were generally intelligible, not only to the well-informed, but to the meanest capacity. As he advanced to his practical applications, all his mental powers were shewn in the most palpable but finely balanced exercise. His mind would, if I may so speak, collect itself and come forth with a luminous activity, proving, as he advanced, how vast, and, in some important senses, how next to irresistible those powers were. In such seasons, his preaching communicated universal animation: his congregation would seem to partake of his spirit, to think and feel as he did, to be fully influenced by the presence of the objects which he had placed before them, fully actuated by the motives which he had enforced with such energy and pathos.
All was doubtless heightened by his singular rapidity of utterance, -by the rhythmical structure of his sentences, calculated at once for the transmission of the most momentous truths, for the powers of his voice, and for the convenience of breathing at measured intervals,and, more than all, by the unequivocal earnestness and sincerity which pervaded the whole, and by the eloquence of his most speaking countenance and penetrating eye. In his sublimer strains, not only was every faculty of the soul enkindled and in entire operation, but his very features seemed fully to sympathise with the spirit, and to give out, nay, to throw out, thought, and sentiment, and feeling.'
Vol. VI. pp. 51–55. . Such was the man, in the very morning of his fame, whom some worthy persons of the episcopalian persuasion, fondly imagine to have been indebted for his celebrity beyond the circle of his own communion, to the accident of his being stationed at Cambridge !! Had he lived in a country town, the occasional discourses which have been rapturously applauded by the highest tribunals of criticism, and been eagerly devoured by statesmen, divines, and philosophers, might have been heard of only in the ' neighbouring bookseller's shop, and among the deacons and communicants of a Baptist meeting !'. But, 'as our universities radiate intelligence to every part of the land, a name which was so well known at Cambridge, would not fail to become well
known throughout the country.'
The Class-mate of Mackintosh, the Preacher who at the age of one-and-twenty seduced Bristol clergymen to wander into a Baptist meeting for the purpose of hearing him, the Author of the sermon on Modern Infidelity, would, possibly, never have made his way into open celebrity, but for the irradiation shed upon him by his local connexion with Cambridge ! Most philosophical and academical conclusion ! That his residence at Cambridge gave many individuals an opportunity of listening to his pulpit eloquence, who would otherwise not have taken the trouble to go after him, is certain. So far did his reputation break down even the pale of collegiate
order', that, 'when the heads of houses met to consider the expediency of preventing the gownsmen attending his meeting, * the proposition was overruled,
-prudently, but not very graciously. The fact is, that a grudging and reluctant homage was paid to the great sectarian Preacher, while living, by the members of the Establishment, with a few illustrious exceptions; and even now, the plaudit of admiration is tainted with the breath of detraction. Is it not remarkable, that the first notice which the works of this master of English' ever received in the London Quarterly Review, should appear in the XCVth Number of that journal, and should consist of an elaborate tissue of eulogy and calumny, artfully woven, for the purpose of rendering, if possible, the posthumous fame of the Great Dissenter innocuous? This writer, whose wonderful compositions, -wonderful both for the scale • and the variety of the powers they display', combine declama'tion so impassioned with wisdom so practical, touches of pathos so tender, with such caustic irony, such bold invective, such spirit-stirring encouragement to heroic deeds ;—and all in language worthy to be the vehicle of such diverse thoughts, more massive than Addison, more easy and unconstrained than Johnson, more sober than Burke't ;--the subject of this fervent eulogy was scarcely, if ever, named, while living, by the Quarterly Review. No one would have learned from its records of our literature, that such a writer existed. To hear such a man preach, was an offence against the Establishment: to praise his writings, except in a whisper, required an apology from a churchman. So strong is the influence of the sectarian feeling gendered by the pride of ecclesiastical caste !
Our present business, however, is with Mr. Hall's personal character, rather than his writings; and as we have been led to advert to the article in the Quarterly Review, we cannot refrain
* Christian Observer, Feb.