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DR. GEORGE LEGGE, OF LEICESTER. THOSE who knew and admired the merit other than the inferior treatlate Dr. George Legge, of Leicester, ment they generally obtain--the will be wofully disappointed in the paltry stones are worthy of the bare biographical outline prefixed to clumsy setting. The very phrase the volume before us. For sheer 'religious biography' has positively outline in the strictest sense it is—a come to be regarded as descriptive skeleton-like memoir-a tame flat of the thinnest and weakest kind of picture done in gray and brown- literary fabric; the manufacturers cold, sketchy, and superficial, with of the material are usually what no realistic power-no vitalizing Lord Brougham would call 'eleventhwarmth of sympathetic colouring. rate men, and their business is to The author of it, Dr. James Legge, • chronicle small beer;' consequently eminent we believe as a Chinese the consistent result is often a commissionary and linguist, seems in. pound in about equal quantities of stinctively to have felt his unfitness humdrum and cant. The number of for the task of writing his brother's respectable individuals whose very life, and it is much to be regretted ordinary virtues the partiality of that his sensible reluctance yielded feeble-minded friends delights to at length to indiscreet importunity: see set forth with elaborate dullness For, to deficient literary faculty and in supremely insipid narratives is skill
, which this book makes pain- truly bewildering, and would profully apparent, there were super- voke contempt and reprobation were added the disqualifying circum- it not that fortunately, both books stances of a considerable disparity and writers so soon descend to a of years, few and far-separated oc- deserved obscurity, making no more casions of personal intercourse, and permanent mark in the literature of 80 pronounced a diversity of in their generation than the foam-bells tellectual character as almost to preclude the possibility of any very
LECTURES on THEOLOGY, SCIENCE, and deeply appreciative criticism. Re- REVELATION, by the late Rev. George Legge, ligious biographies have in modern with a Memoir by James Legge, D.D.,
LL.D., of Gallowtree-gate chapel, Leicester, days grown proverbially tedious ; Hong Kong (of the London Missionary nor can we candidly affirm that on Society). London : Jackson, Walford, and the whole the subjects of them Hodder.
VOL. IV.-New SRRJES, No.7.
that gather and glitter for a moment, | chime of church bells, and the final
Dr. Legge's theology was thorBut the late Dr. Legge was in oughly human and therefore Chrisevery way a man whose character tian in the very highest sense. merited some lasting commemora- saw and felt much more than is tion, and concerning whom an in. commonly seen and felt in the fact teresting and effective book might that the Lord Christ assumed actual have been written. The subject is human nature and came to save the not devoid of material, for although lost, to save them here and now, and there was nothing in the visible life so by consequence save them herethat varied from the common routine after. There was for him emphatic of human experience, still the inward significance in the view of Chrisorganization of the man teemed tianity considered as a revelation with scope and suggestion, and was from heaven to earth, its work being deeply chequered with the lights on the earth, amongst men, to reform and shadows of thought, imagina- and refine them, and so purify the tion, sympathy-intensely instinct springs of social and national life, with the fine workings of a quick making in the end the earth the heartand a busy brain. In his private fitting vestibule of heaven-perrelationships Dr. Legge displayed adventure itself a province of many most engaging qualities and Paradise-one of the many mansions insensibly attracted and rivetted the of the Great Father's house. This warmest regard. It seems odd to present salvation from sin and error think and say it concerning one of into the freedom and power and his years and learning, but we al. pureness of a heavenly life below ways felt that there was a good deal was the great end of all his preachof the child about him—the fresh. ing. This was the one safe and inness, gentleness, and sweetness of dispensable foundation which he the young wedded to the wisdom of persistently and fervently urged the mature. He had the singular must here be builded to ensure the charm of perfect simplicity and a blessed destiny hereafter. That he certain sportive humour-an ethereal did not lose sight of that mysterious lightness of playful fancy which sat futurity, that he did not undervalue with somewhat of grotesqueness the ultimate issues of temporal yet not ungracefully on that massive action, those who ever heard him and unwieldy figure. He was a
will not require to be reminded; man whom to know was not only to nay, his own earnest persuasion of esteem and venerate, but emphatic-them often gave peculiar solemnity ally to love. A feeling of tender to his public expostulations; but he ness naturally intertwined itself with rightly held that his main business the respect which his great native as a preacher of the gospel and of gifts, ripe culture, and extensive Christian morals, was to follow attainments so justly commanded : Christ himself in demanding present and his memory we are sure, is repentance and a righteous life. True written in letters that will never he sometimes soared in fancy and wear away in deep and tender places aspiration away to the 'empyrean,' within hearts that loved him living but it was that he might bring down passing well, and to whom the more of its light and purity to the thought of him now often comes to homely earth he loved; and promake sacred the common moments phetically see invested with the of the world--sacred not with soft spiritual brightness of another more retrospection only but with a blessed real and enduring world all the dear hope, like a fragrant land breeze to scenes and forms of this. They overwearied mariners, breathing of have by no means a monopoly of home joys lost once but anon re- tenderness whose desires are never turning-of green fields, and the lifted out of the sphere of their de
His Characteristics as a Preacher.
hights; so far from this it may be have left some seeds of intelligence safely said that the most celestially and aspiration that this man's rare tending natures are the most human and versatile capacity remained so and domestic too. These are indeed long unrecognized and unappreciated.
In the course of not unfrequent “The wise who soar, but never roam ;
visits to Leicester it has been our True to the kindred points of Heaven and good fortune very often to hear the Home.'
late Dr. Legge, and most of the
sermons in the volume before us Amongst such most surely be are vividly linked with the wellnumbered him of whom we are remembered gestures of the earnest writing Dr. Legge was at once speaker and with the tones of the devout and genial. He believed that living voice. We picture to ournothing human ever dies.' The selves at this moment the burly hand clasping hand firm and warm figure slowly rising to read the text. in friendly pressure; the eye kind. The voice is neither strong nor ling with intelligence and sensibility; melodious; the utterance is harsh, the voice musical with gentleness ; halting, and spasmodic, now gushing the cheek flushing or whitening with in a whispered hiss, and now hurried the hues of the heart; and the by intensity of feeling into unexother thousand eloquent expedients pected and emphatic loudness; the by means of which the soul ex. action is made ungainly by conpresses and communicates its unseen vulsive shakes and twitches, and a life were all to him the signs and kind of ponderous nautical oscillaguarantees of their spiritual cor- tion and roll; there is as yet no rerespondencies – their imperishable deeming animation, no gleam of counterparts. So Time the shadow genius playing over the somewhat implied Eternity the substance ; and blurred and heavy features ; nothing the dimmed but touching spell of in fact to fascinate, but something the still beautiful earth predicted to offend the unprepared or superand faintly symbolized the perfect. ficial, or fastidious auditor. But ness of heaven. Therefore it was wait-observe--and listen. With that he found nature, and life, and self-possession, ease, and quiet friendship, and love, so rich and power, the preacher propounds and fair; therefore it was that he felt defines the subject which he deems empowered (as he so often said) to deducible from the passage of Holy taste the golden day and triumph in Scripture he has cited. In a few existence;' therefore it was that he so clear and methodical sentences he 'disported' himself amid the wonders presents an outline of the ground of creation, pondered the ways of over which he intends to travel, and men, and looked back with a tender- then proceeds by discussing seriatim
so undisguised to his early the propositions he has advanced to home, and his father's grave, and an elaborate and exhaustive treatthe far Highland bills with their ment of his theme. Onward in a peaks of purple and wreaths of stream of nervous, vigorous, and rainy mist.
elastic language flows the logical We have referred admiringly to consecutive thinking, enriched with Dr. Legge's private personal char- teeming illustrations from history, acteristics, but considered in his science, and philosophy, enlivened public capacity as preacher, we be- by a rap of caustic humour, a strain sieve him to have been equally note of eloquent fancy, a quip of homely worthy and deserving of honour. quaintness, or a flash of true poetic And we regard it as by no means fire. It is the movement and gleam, redounding to the credit of the re- and ripple of a charming rhetoric, ligious communities in the midst of instructed and inspired by earnestwhich the far-reaching influence of ness and piety. And mark now how Robert Hall might be supposed to the far-set eye lightens from under
the deep and beetling brow; how and feeling; the direct and highthe voice clarified and strengthened wrought peroration—to which we by holy excitement thrills and falters have before referred as character. with pathetic concern as the speaker istic of the pulpit efforts of this approaching the climax of his argu. gifted, beloved, and eloquent man. ment, and the culminating point of And here finally recurring his practical appeal, sets forth the to our many grateful memories momentous destiny that awaits his of his
presence, and hearers, and the infinite contin-on rising from a renewed congencies of human conduct; hearken sideration of his career and charto his searching wistful entreaties, acter as depicted in even this meagre his jubilant lyrical congratulations; memorial sketch, and of his innote the intense attention, the signal tellectual and oratorical achievestillness, the breathless hush and ments as partially presented in these general conscious sensation of re- published discourses, we are more lieved intentness when his last words than ever impressed with the indehave been spoken, and the stalwart pendence and humanity of his refigure, hot and flushed, and filled | ligious ideas; the freedom, the true with passionate feeling, sinks back spirituality, the catholic largeness into the pulpit seat-and you cannot and warmth of his inward life: and but feel that you have been listening a conviction presses itself very to no inadequate presentment of urgently upon us that estimable, Christian truth; to no unskilled or even loveable as he was personally; unworthy preacher of the wonderful brilliant as were his public abilities; words that can make wise unto rich and availableaswere hisscholarly salvation.
resources; it is in the other rarer Admirable and excellent as are aspect of progressive thinker and the discourses contained in the teacher that he may be remembered volume before us, it is certain that and emulated with the deepest and they do not exceed the average most enduring advantage by his quality of Dr. Legge's public minis. younger survivors in the ministerial trations, but exhibit very fairly his office, who will extract and appro. method and style; most of them priate all that is most valuable in relate to those leading cardinal his example if they but follow him points of doctrine and belief to in seeking to conform their reprewhich it was his delight strenuously sentations of scriptural doctrine to to address himself, and with which the exacter views of an advanced he grappled with all the zest of the intelligence and to the merciful temskilled dialectician; with all the per of that exhaustless Christianity wise eclecticism of the student; which is wider than all the churches, and with all the seriousness of a however expansive; fuller than the faithful pastor of souls. They are creeds, how deftly framed soever conspicuously marked by the lucid they may be for the arrest and imand methodical arrangement; the prisonment of truth; more liberal, simplicity and completeness of ex. humano, and benignant than the pository statement; the orderly noblest institutions by which men in sequence of cumulative thought; their wisdom and benevolence have the fresh and idiomatic diction; the striven to express and apply the vivid and pictorial rhetoric; the precepts of the Redeemer and the teeming illustrative learning; the spirit of the Kingdom of Heaven. occasional musical strains of fancy
0. M. N.