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on ethical science. Whether a discerning public will judge the demand in any good measure met by the work before us, we will not presume to decide. We hope, however, that it will be generally read, especially by those parents and teachers who are desirous to have correct views themselves in respect to the great subjects of which it treats, and to impress, in a more simple form, the results of their knowledge on the minds of the young. This, indeed, is the main object to be aimed at by an ethical writer. He cannot, in a formal philosophical treatise, accommodate himself on all points to the popular mind. The most he can do is, to state and demonstrate general principles, throw out hints, and propose methods of reasoning and illustration, which, to be universally useful, must be unfolded, simplified, and brought down to the level and into the channels of common life, by the labors of the living teacher. In this way, we have no doubt that these essays may be highly valuable to the community.
We had intended to point out some instances of inconclusive reasoning, and a few directly exceptionable passages; but having already extended this article beyond our original design, we shall only refer to them in a very general manner. They may be found in the chapters on Sabbatical Institutions, Religious Obliga. tions, Oaths, and Intellectual Education. The writer, as might be expected from one of his sect, denies that one day is more sacred than another; yet he admits the propriety and expediency, and the duty founded on these considerations, of devoting one day in the seven to purposes of religious improvement. He maintains, that religion is an affair of the mind, and not of the tongue, and that religious conversation is one of the great evils of the christian world. He also contends, that oaths are inconsistent with the gospel rule ; and that the study of the ancient classical languages is attended with no substantial advantages, but, on the contrary, with many necessary evils. On most of these subjects, the watchful editor bas interposed a note, by way of guard or refutation ; for which be deserves the thanks of the christian public.
The style of the author's reasoning is always calm, candid, and dispassionate. He evidently aims only at the truth, and generally, we believe, he has succeeded in reaching and unfolding it. His manner of writing is simple, modest, unambitious. There is no parade of learning, though the writer is obviously well acquainted with nearly all the leading works on moral science, ancient and moder. He contents himself with presenting plain truths in a plaia dress. Yet he occasionally kindles into a warmth and energy of expression, which shows that he was no less capable of eloquence than of patient reasoning. He has not the sprightliness of diction, the aptness of illustration, nor the power of condensation so remarkable in Paley; yet he is not in either respect par
ticularly deficient. Had he lived to revise the work, he would doubtless have corrected some errors, pruned away some redundancies, and made many important improvements. As it is
, we commend it to the public as the last legacy of an honest, independent mind,-a mind of no inferior powers, and a legacy of no mean value.
ART. V.-LIFE OF THE REv. Rowland Hill.
The Life of the Red. Rowland Hill, A. M. By the Rev. EDWIN SIDNEY, A M.
New-York : D. Appleton & Co. 1834.
The first mention of Rowland Hill, which we recollect ever to have seen, was in connection with some striking anecdote, in which he figured either as the actor or speaker. Similar, we presume, has been the introduction to this name with many of our readers. No one of the English preachers for the last half century, has been more familiarized to their acquaintance. His reputation at a distance from his own country, has, however, been the no very enviable one of eccentricity; and by many, doubtless, he has been regarded only in the light of a clerical buffoon, whose principal object was to amuse : while the mention of a visit to Surry chapel, has seemed like an invitation to an exhibition of ludicrous performance. The volume before us will correct this impression, as it presents Rowland Hill, not as a mere eccentric, but as a man of sound good sense, ardent piety, and distinguished success in the office of a minister of Christ; the last of that trio of worthies, composed of Whitefield, Wesley, and himself, whose influence has been so extensively felt, in the revival of piety and evangelical religion in the British empire. On the death of Rowland Hill
, Mr. Sidney, a relative, and former ward, received a bequest of his papers; and it is partly of these authentic materials of which this volume is formed. Besides, an intimacy of many years with the venerable man, has prepared his biographer, from personal knowledge, to draw out the circumstances of his history, in connection with his most striking peculiarities. From a few notices in the English periodicals, we judge that the work has been well received by the large circle of Rowland Hill's friends and admirers. We can bear testimony to the gratification, we hope profit too, which we have derived from its pages. We could have wished, indeed, that it had been characterized by a stricter attention to method; and had there been a fuller development of the workings of the mind, during the various periods of his history, it would have better coincided with our own notions of useful biography. Still, we can heartily commend it to our
readers, as a book calculated to amuse, to instruct, and improve. The style is neat and unambitious, and the facts are related in an agreeable manner. With these general remarks on the volume before us, we proceed at once to a more particular notice of his bistory, and an exhibition of the most striking points of his character, which we purpose to do mainly from the book itself.
Rowland Hill was born at Hawkestone, Shropshire, August 23, 1745. His father, Sir Rowland Hill, was descended from an ancient and honorable family, whose ancestry is traced back to a person of the name of De la Hulle, in the reign of Edward I. An ancestor by the name of Rowland Hill, is also said to have been the first protestant lord-mayor of London. From this circumstance, or some other cause, the name Rowland became a very favorite one in the family, as not less than four or five bearing the same name, immediately preceded the father of the late Mr. Rowland Hill.
Still more recently the family has become distinguished by the actions of the present Lord Hill, who bore so large a part in the military achievements of the peninsular campaigns, and who, with four brothers, nephews of Rowland Hill, were all present at the great battle of Waterloo. From his earliest years, Rowland Hill was remarkable for his archness and bumor, and his “ pranks ;" the drolleries of his childhood, were often the theme of conversation with his most familiar friends, in the subsequent periods of his life. But the grace of God was preparing to graft upon the unpromising stock, that better mind, which, if it could not wholly eradicate, might temper and direct to its proper use, a native gift of so dangerous a power. When of sufficient age to profit by the instruction there given, young Rowland was sent to school at Eton; and it was here," during the days of his childhood, that the first beams of that spiritual light, which he for so many years reflected in all its purity and brightness, were shed upon his soul. The opening powers of his mind were consecrated to God; and his conceptions of the truths of religion, at this early age, were so luminous, that he never saw occasion to alter his first views, in any essential particular; and amid all the varied fancies of enthusiasts, which often surrounded and distressed him, he had never, he said, with the warmest expression of thankfulness to God, been led away from the simple notion of the doctrines of grace, which he had adopted in the morning of his days.” No particulars are furnished us of his exercises of mind at this stage of his feelings, which we cannot help regretting, as it would no doubt have been interesting to trace the operation of truth by the Spirit of God upon his heart, till it resulted in a saving change. The change, however, was one of a most decided character ; for with that firmness which so greatly marked his whole subsequent life, he went
forward in duty, heedless of the sneers and the ridicule to whic he was subjected by the companions of his academic years.
To the instrumentality of an elder brother, afterwards Sir Richa Hill, (and of whose conversion and progress in grace, with bisk bors and success in the cause of Christ, an interesting account given,) was young Rowland indebted for the new direction of b feelings and purposes. Combined with this instrumentality, to were the tender admonitions of a beloved sister, Miss Jane Hi who manifested a deep concern for his spiritual condition. T) fraternal regard and sisterly affection exhibited in their letters their brother, is a beautiful trait in their characters; and by the judicious and co-operating encouragement, the young convert w upheld and guided on to the high and holy aim of entire self-cot secration to God, in a life of constant and increasing devotedne and grace. Examples like these, of an influence so exerted, the best of purposes, are indeed grateful, and commend then selves to every one who stands in a similar relation. What et couragement is thus furnished to similar activity in behalf of thos whom they love! Many, we doubt not, exposed to the tempta tions of a college life, or removed from home, owe, much to the restraining and saving influence of a brother's or a sister's hoh counsels and prayers. Many too, we fear, have been lost to them selves, to their friends and the world, who, withheld by such a influence from sin, might have become ornaments to society, and esteemed by all to whom they were known.
From Eton, Rowland Hill went to Cambridge University, where he entered a fellow-commoner. Here he practiced lay-preaching
, (which he had before commenced in the vicinity of his father's dwelling, visiting the prisons, and holding meetings in a number of places with various success. He now became acquainted with the Rev. John Berridge, of whom such honorable mention, as a faithful servant of Christ, is made in the life of Whitefield. He attended upon Mr. Berridge's ministry at Everton every sabbath, and was much indebted to his kind counsels and instructions. His irregular preaching, and the religious views which he adopted, brought upon him the marked disapprobation of his parents. Towards the close of his life, we find the following touching allusion to this fact, exhibiting his spirit of ingenuous love to them, and unwavering adherence to his duty.
• Once, on the terrace at Hawkestone, about this time, he remarked to a lady who was walking with him, and who had witnessed the afectionate attentions which were paid him by Sir John Hill and his family
, - You have seen how I am now received here ; but in my youth I have often paced this spot bitterly weeping: while, by most of the inhabitants of yonder house, I was considered as a disgrace to my family. But,” he added, the tears trickling down his aged cheeks, '* it was for the cause of my God.”')
pp. 231, 232.
In his decision to persevere in his course, he was much strengthened also by several letters of Whitefield. Refused in his application for orders by six successive bishops, he at last succeeded, in 1773, in oblaining ordination as a deacon, at the hands of the venerable bishop of Bath and Wells. About the same time, he was united in marriage with Miss Mary Tudway, sister of a brother-in-law. She died but a short time before her busband, after having shared in his pilgrimage of toil and care for more than sixty years.
li is froin this period that the interest of his life more especially commences. He now fixed himself at Wotton, in Gloucestershire, where, in the words of Mr. Sidney,
He had erected bis house, and a chapel, called the Tabernacle, in one of the most romantic situations that can be conceived, and very suitable to the complexion of a mind exceedingly alive to the picturesque beauties of nature. The celebrated Robert Hall once paid bim a visit at Wotton, and said of it,— Sir, it is the most paradisaical spot I was ever in.” Strong as was the expression, he did not say too much. Opposite the house is the most perfect amphitheater of hill, three parts of which is clothed with a hanging wood, of exquisite variety of foliage, inclosing a dale of the richest fertility. The summit of a hill on the left of the house commands a landscape on which nature has lavished ber choicest attractions. The Welsh Mountains, the Malvern Hills, the rich vale of Berkley, the broad course of the silvery and majestic Severa, and a foreground of grassy knolls and hanging woods, form the principal features of a scene in which all are blended in the loveliest barmony and proportions. In front of the house, a rocky path winding through a sloping wood of beech, breaks it with its white and narrow streaks into clusters of great beauty and variety. On the sabbath this road teemed with human beings, coming from the lovely glens around, to hear the word of life from the lips of their beloved minister. About half an hour before service, he might be seen watching through a telescope his approaching flock, as they descended into the valley, and making his remarks to those near him on the seriousness or levity of their
Sometimes he gave a hint of the latter in his sermon, and they who were conscious of its application wondered how he knew it. Some of them used to say, “ we must mind what we do, for Master Hill knows every thing, bless him.”
During his residence at Wotton, and indeed from the commencement of his ministry, he spent a large part of his time in itinerant preaching ; a practice which he never wholly relinquished till a few years before his death, and then only on account of advanced age and increasing infirmities.
Whitefield was now dead; and there was no one better qualified for a similar station of eminence among his followers, than Rowland Hill. His labors were therefore sought for, and his preaching in many