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modation. In addition to these curious traits in his character, the young preacher showed, on many occasions, a daring and adventurous spirit; he was fond of climbing the loftiest trees, and would plant his foot upon the edge of some deep and dangerous eminence, to show that he could not be intimidated. The nature of the dangers which he courted, may be inferred from an example, the account of which rests on his own authority:
It having been customary to admit into the Academy at Bristol a limited number of Welsh students, whose different habits and odd construction of the English language often afforded diversion to the other inmates, it is said that our hero contrived to frighten one of them by descending the chimney of the room where he was sitting, and presenting bimself to the retired and contemplative Welshman, covered with soot and dirt. The circumstance having been mentioned to Mr. Hall nearly fifty years afterward, in the expectation that so improbable a statement would have met a direct denial, he immediately replied, “ By no means: the tale is true enough, except that it was no part of my design to disturb the inoffensive Welshman, who was sufficiently alarmed, certainly, at my unexpected appearance through such an aperture. But having observed with what ease and celerity a sweep would present himself at the chimney top, I was desirous of ascertaining by what means such an extraordinary feat was accomplished. Unfortunately, I began at the wrong end of the business. I ascended the roof of the building by a ladder, and then climbed outside the highest chimney, in order to descend through it to the bottom. The attempt nearly cost me my life. On entering the top of the chimney I slipped down several yards, was almost suffocated with dust and soot, and some severe contusions of the head and elbows were the consequence of this imprudent adventure.” If the excruciating pain he endured throughout the greater part of life had not its origin in some unperceived injury of an early date, there can be little doubt but it was much increased by the serious accidents to which he was continually liable, and might account for the different forms of affliction with which he was visited.-pp. 40, 41.
A fund existed amongst the Baptists of Bristol for the purpose of sending students to the University of Aberdeen. Young Hall was fortunate enough to be selected as an object well worthy the application of a suitable portion of the funds, and at the age of seventeen entered King's College, Old Aberdeen, where he afterwards kept up a close intercourse with another student, whose name is now enrolled in the illustrious catalogue of public benefactors : we mean, the late Sir James Mackintosh. Mr. Hall, after leaving Aberdeen, accepted the office of assistant-minister at Broadmede. At this period the religious world was much divided in its conclusions, as to the merits of the works of Priestley. The young clergyman of Broadmede confessed his conversion to materialism, to which it is now admitted, that he added a belief in Arminianism, although some say that he never completely received the doctrine which goes by that name. His congregation took alarm, and they testified their apprehensions in such a way as to impose on Mr. Hall the necessity of considering the propriety of retiring from the place. He soon decided on his course ; and as a a seasonable vacancy for a minister occurred at Cambridge, at this time, Mr. Hall immediately resigned his cure at Broadmede, and very properly stated his reasons for abandoning the station. He declared, in the statement which he drew up, that he was no Calvinist, that he did not maintain the federal headship of Adam, or the penal imputation of sin to his posterity, but was of opinion that guilt was wholly personal, and that we could not apprehend, condemnation in the next world, save only in consequence of our own bad actions. Mr. Hall, however, added that he was a firm believer in the proper deity of Christ, and in the efficiency of his atonement, and that atonement is the only ground of a sinner's acceptance with God, to the exclusion of good works. Now, in the very same document is the following account of Mr. Hall's views of baptism at the period to which we allude. “ It has been held out to some,” he writes, “ that I am not a baptist. I am, both in respect to the subject and to the mode of this institution, a baptist. To apply this ordinance to infants, appears to me a perversion of the intention of the sacred institution. The primitive, the regular and proper mode of administration, I take to be immersion. Still it appears to me that sprinkling, though an innovation, does not deprive baptism of its essential validity, so as to put the person that has been sprinkled in adult age upon a footing with the unbaptised. The whole of my sentiments amounts to this: I would not myself baptise in any other manner than by immersion, because I look upon immersion as the ancient mode ; that it best represents the meaning of the original term employed, and the substantial import of this institution; and because I should think it right to guard against a spirit of innovation, which, in positive rites, is always dangerous and progressive; but I should not think myself authorised to rebaptise any one who has been sprinkled in adult age. I shall only remark, in addition to what I have already said upon this point, that if it be a sufficient objection to my union with a baptist congratification; then, as all Chistendom is composed of baptists or pedo-baptists, it amounts to my exclusion, as a minister, from every Christian society throughout the whole earth; an interdict equally absurd and inhuman, founded upon a conduct merely negative, in chemerical situations seldom or never likely to occur.”
We really cannot, for the life of us, understand how it is possible to reconcile the inconsistencies which appear to us to be contained in the document just noticed. In the first portion of it we find that Mr. Hall considers the guilt of human beings to be exclusively personal: that is to say, it must be incurred by the individual himself, otherwise he is not liable to condemnation. Now, if that be the case, why is baptism necessary ? Those who adopt the practice, and Mr. Hall is to be particularly distinguished amongst them as being a friend to immersion, must believe that some object is
gained by the application of the water. What is the sin washed away? It is the hereditary sin handed down to us from our first parents. Will Mr. Hall deny that baptism by immersion is necessary to wipe away that sin? We are sure he will not, because then there would be no necessity for baptism. But the reverend gentleman believes in, and upholds, its efficacy. Then, we ask, how is it that guilt is wholly personal, and that we are liable to condemnation only for our own actions ?
Amongst other explanations, given by this minister, was one about his notions of materiality. On this point he said, that the nature of man is simple and uniform, that the thinking powers and faculties are the result of a certain organization of matter, and that, after death, he ceases to be conscious until the resurrection. But, he added, that this opinion he had always regarded as a mere metaphysical speculation, and had never introduced it in preaching. This avowal of materialism is, to our minds, quite unaccountable; and it struck the pious father of Mr. Hall in the same way; indeed, there is nothing to be found in Paine, Rousseau, or Voltaire, more inimical to the principles of Christianity, than such a doctrine.
But the misfortunes of Mr. Hall at the period we speak of, were not limited to his misunderstanding with his congregation ; for, just at the same crisis, he felt all the tortures of a disappointment in love. His addresses had been some time previously encouraged by a Miss Steel, who, at the very moment when he counted most confidently on her sincerity, gave a practical proof of her indifference to him, by accepting the hand of a richer and higher candidate. The conduct of the young lady afterwards, considerably heightened the mortification of the deluded lover, for she scornfully laughed at his sorrows. Mr. Hall, even his most partial friends must allow, betrayed great weakness of character in connection with this love affair. It rendered him unfit for his ordinary duties, besides converting him from a mild and charitable minister, who owed paramount devotion to his divine master, into a contemptible slave of excessive passion, characterised by an eccentric and a rude demeanour. No spectacle, indeed, can be more humiliating than to see this predestined servant of God, he who had adopted the ministry from the enthusiasm of instinct, he who prayed silently to his Creator with precocious piety, before he could speak plain language; to see, we repeat, such a man, forgetting his character and the sacred functions to which he had devoted himself, and bend in abject prostration before a mere human idol. Still more disgusting in such a man is the duration which he allowed to his feelings of disappointment ; for the extent of it is nothing short of a positive proof of the absence from his heart of every manly sentiment, every tendency to that sort of resolution which would have become such a man in the circumstances in which he happened to be placed.
But it was not long before Mr. Hall was roused from this thraldom by the influence of that intense agitation of the country to
which the breaking out of the French revolution gave rise. Mr. Hall soon found himself impelled to take a part in the political scene, for the fears of government induced it to adopt a variety of precautions which were calculated to interfere with every man's liberty ; besides which, the blind partisans of the Tory party began a system of moral persecution against all dissenters, whom they considered as only a set of a revolutionists in disguise.
Several very able pamphlets by Mr. Hall testify the extent of the interest which he took in promoting the new principles of reform, which had then made such rapid strides throughout the continent.
About the year 1802, the friends of Mr. Hall perceived a disa position, of a very marked character, about him, which denoted great mental depression. This state of mind was particularly indicated in his letters to his intimate acquaintance, but especially in those addressed to Mr. Morris, the biographer, who tells us, that some of these letters “ elicited some of the diagnostics of an approaching attack on the branular system.” The peace of Amiens again roused the slumbering intellect of Mr. Hall, and, on the day appointed for thanksgiving, he poured forth from the pulpit one of the most eloquent of his productions, exhibiting, in glowing colours, the chief calamities produced by war. The duration of this healthy interval was but short, and Mr. Hall was forced, by severe indisposition, to retire altogether from his duties. He had scarcely renewed his duties, after a partial recovery, when his disease again returned, and the symptoms were decidedly manifested of insanity. He was secluded in Bristol, but soon recovered again. Mr. Morris gives the following account of his predilection for tobacco, a commodity which Mr. Hall believed to be favourable to the relief of his disorder :
Previous to this illness, Mr. Hall contracted the habit of smoking, of which he was remarkably fond, and thought it tended a little to relieve the pain he so constantly endured. A curious colloquy arose out of this circumstance soon after his admission, which shows his ingenuity in endeavouring to obtain the privilege of a pipe, and the severity of his sarcasms when provoked by disappointment. Being invited to dine with the medical gentleman, in company with other convalescents, he on the first day said, do you know, Sir, which is the finest plant in all the universe ? The doctor answered no, he did not know: he had not devoted much time or attention to botany. Do you know which it is Mr. Hall? Yes, yes, he quickly replied : that is easily discovered—it is tobacco, certainly. The hint did not take effect, and he remained silent and dejected all that day. On the next op. portunity he renewed the inquiry. Doctor, do you know the finest scent that ever accosted the nostrils of man? I cannot tell you immediaiely : but is it snuff, Mr. Hall ? Snuff, snuff! No, no, Sir; it is the fume of tobacco. Having received no favourable answer, he continued silent the remainder of the day. These attempts to obtain a pipe proving unsuccessful, he the next time put the question in still plainer terms. Doctor, do you ever smoke ? No, certainly not, was the reply. Then, Sir, you are an object of profund compassion and commisseration. Why, doctor, you are destitute of the finest of our six senses. The doctor politely thanked him, but assured him that he needed not his compassion. Mr. Hall, attempting to justify his remark, replied, why, Sir, would you not pity a man, who had not the sense of seeing, hearing, or smelling? And as you have not the sense of smoking, you are an object of the profoundest pity and compassion. On the fourth day he openly requested the favour of a pipe, and could take no rest till he had obtained it. But he received for answer, you have been long enough in this establishment to know, Sir, that the rules do not allow of smoking. I have : and what is the reason for that, doctor? Because, replied the doctor, it was thought to have a tendency to encrease the malady which prevails in this house. No, no, was re. sponded; that indeed is not the reason. The true reason is, because the president of this establishment is a great blockhead!
Mr. Hall's propensity for smoking encreased so much upon him after this period, that he might be found occupied with a pipe most hours of the day. In his own apprehension the sedative effects of tobacco were beneficial to his health, tending to alleviate that excessive pain under which he laboured, or in some measure to divert his attention from it. A friend having presented him with a portable and capacious box for the purpose, he seldom went from home without providing himself with an ample store of kynaster; and even when travelling outside a coach, which he commonly preferred, a pipe was frequently his companion. Unable to continue long in bed, from the encreasing pain it produced, he was in the habit of rising very early, and lying on the hard floor, and amusing himself with a pipe and a book. One dark winter's morning his candle went out; and as he could nowhere be found about the house, the family became alarmed; but just as some were going out with a lantern to search for him, he made his appearance, saying he had traversed the streets to find a watchman to light his pipe; su essential was this little indulgence to his personal comfort. He took nothing whatever with his pipe, but swallowed the saliva as a sort of medicine.-pp. 181-183.
Shortly after these events, Mr. Hall thought that the most prudent course he could adopt was to retire to Enderby; and during his stay in that place he was on one occasion solicited by a brother-clergyman of Clipstone, to accompany him to that place. Mr. Hall obstinately resisted the application : but some strange influence seemed to be at work in urging the clergyman to prevail on Mr. Hall to proceed to Clipstone. At length, a horse and gig were sent to Enderby; and, to his own astonishment, Mr. Hall was literally forced into the vehicle, and violently carried over to Clipstone. But here strange events, in which he was to be involved, waited on him ; and during his short and reluctant visit, he found himself smitten with the charms of a young lady living in the house which was fixed as his temporary residence. But the subsequent account of this female leaves us in great doubt as to her qualifications. It seems, that, after Mr. Hall had declared himself her lover, she was sent to receive “ educational advantages," under the care of a family named Edmunds; and this